I have just moved into a studio apartment I have rented for a couple of weeks in Tignes. Unable to sleep last night I got up to make a warm milk. The microwave is a flash looking Smeg with a multitude of options and it took me a while to turn it on.
The default time was a minute so after thirty seconds I opened the door to see if the milk was warm enough.
After a few seconds I realised something wasn’t right. Even though I had opened the door the microwave was still making the noise it does while creating death inducing cancer microwaves when the door is safely shut. Except now the door was open and I was peering in.
I slammed the door shut and broke into a cold sweat. How long had I had the door open? What had I done to myself?
I went back into an uneasy sleep. During the night my nose started to run and I leapt out of bed fully expecting it to be blood and anticipating my ears would be following suit shortly afterwards. I tried to calm down and look on the bright side. Hadn’t I read that during the Cold War the Russians bombarded the US Embassy in Moscow with microwaves every day for years and not all the US Embassy staff had died of cancer…
In the morning I decided I needed to do some more tests to finalise this one way or the other. But how could I do this without exposing myself to more deadly radiation? After thinking about it I realised that if I clung like spiderman to the end of the kitchen unit, 90 degrees to the microwave, I need only expose my right hand leaning it round the corner to open the microwave. This had the added advantage of me being left handed, so if my right hand withered and fell off I would still be able to write.
I turned the microwave on, got in position, leant round and opened it. It was still going. I shut it quickly. I realised that I wasn’t sure what I had proved. Was the fault a consistent one, or was it meant to do this?
I finally concluded that the key question was whether the plate was still rotating when the door was opened. If it was not then I was probably experiencing some bullshit ventilation feature. But how was I going to be able to look in when the door was opened without reducing my lifespan even further?
After pondering for a while I turned the microwave on and then lay on the floor in front of it. Approached it using my elbows like soldiers do when moving through long grass under enemy fire I lent up, and using an improvised stick opened the door marginally. Then, just like a gazelle, I leapt up for a millisecond and peered in.
The plate had stopped rotating. I was going to live. Probably.