A microwave accident goes absurd

Life is frequently bizarre. Everyone has had some absurd, surreal, dadaist experiences, and now, thanks to blogopower, we can share these experiences with the world rather than leaving them to fade away into null memory.

My housing situation during my senior year at university was full of surprising occurrences. I lived with three foreigners, one each from China, West Africa, and Mexico, in a run-down house not far off campus. Hey, at least it was cheap. The African had just come over from Africa at the start of that year, and back in his country, men never cook; they always have women to do that for them. Well, not here. He was a terrible cook.

He had never had to learn before, and even after repeated months of trying, in which time you’d think he would have picked something up, he always just keep on messing up. He only even made one thing, some dish that was popular in his country, but half the time he burned it. He even had no patience for it. He’d leave it on the stove for a long time, not checking on it, even long after all the water had boiled away and it started burning. One time he even fell asleep with his food burning on the stove until I, at the opposite end of the house, caught a whiff of it and came in to get it off.

So one day I’m sitting in my room studying and I smell burning. Great, I think to myself. He must’ve tried cooking something again and wandered off. So I let out a resigned sigh and got up to see what was going on, and maybe take a pot of burning food off the stove if necessary.

I run smack into my Mexican housemate gingerly extracting a Tupperware container of burnt socks from the microwave. They were charred in a few places and giving off voluminous amounts of smoke.

I paused for a few seconds while my brain tried to catch up with what I was seeing. After a few seconds, he haltingly started explaining about how he had read an article on the Internet about microwaving sponges to disinfect them. Somehow he made the leap to disinfecting his socks, and tried that instead.

That scientific article about disinfecting sponges by microwaving them was widely reported in the news media. Of course, as the media so often does, they dumbed down the coverage terribly, even summarizing it into a ten second news-bite. Many of them didn’t bother explaining that the sponge had to be soaked in water before microwaving it or otherwise it would burn. Scores of people across the country burned sponges in their microwave in the wake of those news reports. Some even caught their houses on fire.

But as far as I know, my housemate was the only one who burnt his socks.

3 Responses to “A microwave accident goes absurd”

  1. Darmok Says:

    One wonders what he did to his socks that he thought they required disinfecting…

  2. Cyde Weys Says:

    I can possibly imagine wanting to disinfect something like a sponge, which regularly touches food and the plates that you eat off of. But I just don’t see what the point of disinfecting socks is. They’re already washed every time between uses, which should take care of any problems. Ignoring that, feet just aren’t infection vectors, unless you have lots of open sores. Yeah, you could get sick from using a bad sponge on a plate and then eating off of it, thus ingesting harmful bacteria, but what are going to happen with socks?!

  3. I KNOW HOW TO PROGRAM WITH C++ | Cyde Weys Musings Says:

    […] I called my home during my senior year at University of Maryland, College Park. That means no more housemates setting their socks on fire in the microwave (no, really). It also means no more contact with my former West African roommate who believes that […]