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Another Day in the Country

The cancel button

© Another Day in the Country

Several years ago, I bought a new toaster. The one I’d been using was left over from the days we had a bed and breakfast in Ramona.

The toaster was meant for a crowd. At my house there was usually just me. What was I doing with a machine that could accommodate a third of a loaf of bread? It was big and ungainly and clogged up my counter space.

So, I bought a little toaster that only had two slots.

“It’s simple and it’s cheap,” I boasted to my sister. “I don’t need all the bells and whistles on a more expensive model.”

When I plugged the toaster into a socket and tried my first slice of bread, I was disappointed. The little wheel that determines how dark your toast gets didn’t seem to work right, and there was no cancel button in sight.

“I guess you get what you pay for,” I lamented with a sigh.

For years now, I’ve suffered along with the deficient toaster, getting more and more frustrated. Since my toast always seemed too or too pale, even after readjusting the dial, I got pretty good at guessing when the toast was just right and just unplugged the machine.

One day, I got proactive and decided to swap my toaster with another, but when I tried the machine, it didn’t do any better.

“So much for $10 toasters!” I muttered.

In all the swapping and testing, I decided to rearrange the area on the countertop where breakfast supplies loitered. I was now viewing my toaster from the opposite end, and what should I behold but a cancel button! I’d been so sure this cheap model was deficient, I’d evidently just looked at it from one side, expecting the worst,

Year after year, I’d just unplugged and replugged my toaster, chaffing at the inconvenience when I didn’t have to — all because I thought I knew the facts — this good-for-nothing cheap joke of a toaster was lacking some essential equipment. I had thought, while all along it had the requisite button, just in a different place, down lower and black so it was hard to see.

This experience made me wonder just how many things in life may be dark and hard to see, and I miss, because my expectations are a little off kilter. The problem wasn’t so much with the toaster but with me.

For some reason, the toaster has been on my mind while I’m contemplating a road trip! This is a first-ever trip with Jana and her family.

“We are driving all the way to Kansas the long way?” I asked in disbelief. “And my son-in-law, who much prefers solitude, is coming too? It’s his idea?”

I must admit I’ve been searching for a cancel button on this venture since I first heard rumors. First, I thought the idea would never materialize. Then I dismissed the notion because I was sure Richard would bail and the rest of us would just fly. But it hasn’t happened yet.

“It’s the opportune time to do this,” my daughter says, “given your age and Dagfinnr’s.”

So, I said I was game, thinking someone would find the cancel button before I needed to push it.

“I’ll do it for Dagfinnr,” I said to my sister, heroically.

“Maybe you have something to learn from this trip,” said my sibling.

It’s another day in the country, and by the time you read this column I’ll be safely home in Ramona, if no one pushes the cancel button, that is! And what a tale we’ll have to tell.

Last modified July 15, 2021

 

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