2017-11-10 / Commentary

Language Barriers

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

My stove doesn’t understand me.

I mean, it REALLY doesn’t understand me. My stove is speaking another language!

About two weeks ago, we had one of those power outage blips. You know, where the power goes out for about five seconds and pops back on, but it’s long enough that you have to reset every clock in the kitchen?

Well that “blip out” happened, and after I reset the microwave I tried to reset the clock on the stove. Somehow, instead of resetting the time, I reset the language from English to something else. And I have NO idea WHAT language that is!

Now, this stove has long been a thorn in my side. We remodeled our kitchen a few years back so of course, my husband Marty and I had to pick out new appliances. Since I have always been an apartment dweller prior to our marriage, I’ve never picked out a stove. Ever. In my life.

Actually, I don’t think I was ever even in an appliance store unless you count those big box stores that also carry kitchen equipment. But my point is, I knew nothing about picking out a stove.

And with my minimum array of cooking skills, basically all I cared about was that it was a gas stove, which I like better for boiling and frying eggs or heating water for tea.

I was barely even paying attention that day in the store as the salesman was going on about the advantages of this stove over that stove and how this did that and that did the other thing. I was pretending to listen as, in my mind, I was picking out where Marty and I would be having our early dinner when we got out of the store.

The salesman, being a tad old school “southern gentleman,” wrongly assumed I, as the woman, would be doing a happy dance to get this “fantastic piece of equipment” in “my kitchen” to “whip up those gourmet meals” for my beloved husband after a hard day’s work. He was definitely playing up to me with his sales pitch, which, if you know me, is hysterical because I cook maybe six times a year.

Marty, on the other hand, enjoys cooking. Not all the time and not every day, but far more often than I do.

But, pandering to the stereotype, the salesman kept on listing all the features and attributes of this particular stove and telling us why our life would absolutely be incomplete without it.

Any minute I expected him to pat me on the head and call me the “little lady.” I didn’t care at that point, so we got that stove and made the salesman a happy man.

Fast forward to the first time change with our new stove. It was a few years ago, but that was the day, roughly six months after purchasing it, when I realized I should have paid more attention when we bought the thing.

You can’t just change the time. No…you must go through an extensive “menu” packed full of nifty things to do with your stove.

I really don’t need or want that much interaction with my stove, but once you scroll through all the selections and actually find the time change button, you must pick a language.

A language?

Ok…I know the world is small and with all this global interaction, English is NOT the only language in the universe, but seriously… does a stove reeeeeallly need to be proficient in 20 or so languages? Shouldn’t there be some sort of disconnect button if the owner of the stove doesn’t speak all those languages?

Anyway, after the power outage blip, I somehow chose an obscure and archaic language from the menu and then, no longer understanding the directions for setting the clock, I pushed some button or selected some action from the menu that shut the entire stove down.

I had guests that day and was in the process of warming up a breakfast casserole when it happened.

My guests had to be happy with cereal that day and I had to call an electrician, who thankfully is also a good friend, over to decode the stove. He, like me, didn’t speak that language, so we were Googling what words the stove was displaying.

Google didn’t know either.

The electrician did get the stove working again with the trial and error method and as long as I could make garlic bread in the oven I was happy.

Until I tried to change the time this weekend. Now…with the new unknown-to-even- Google language, I have NO idea how to get the thing on the new time.

I wonder if there are swear words in this new language…I’m gonna need them, and I want the stove to know they are directed toward IT!

Merde! Una Schiefezza! Crap.

I’m just saying…

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