The second time I caught myself on fire, I should have seen it coming.
To help my loyal readers avoid catching ablaze while cooking, I have decided to bravely share my story.
Side note: In case I haven’t emphasized it enough on the Miss Nutralicious blog, I am NOT a skilled cook. I am awkward in the kitchen. Friends cringe when I use a bread knife in fear that I will lose a finger, my mom suggests we go out to eat every time I invite her over for dinner, and I have melted a microwave. A solid metal microwave.
For Pete’s sake, I just admitted to you that I have caught MYSELF on fire. Not once, but TWICE! I should not need to provide further evidence to convince you that my kitchen skills are lacking.
Back to my story.
It was a beautiful, sunny, delightfully warm day in the summer of 2006, and I was bundled up in a pink hooded sweatshirt in a freezing cold, air-conditioned basement. I was in the midst of a Dance Dance Revolution showdown with two young girls. It was noon, and I had already been babysitting for 5 hours and dancing for 3.5 hours when the youngest child suggested we change things up and go outside for a scooter race.
Seriously! Another scooter race!
Fine, but first I needed to take an "alone time" break in the kitchen. The girls decided to remain in the basement for one more mini dance-off while I went upstairs to prepare lunch.
Eventually the water started to boil, and I leaned over the pot to add the noodles.
As Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” blared from the basement dance-a-thon, I started to smell something burning.
I decided to check on the noodles.
Man, why was it so HOT in the kitchen!?
As I turned towards the stove, I saw my reflection in the decorative mirror hanging on the wall.
I WAS ON FIRE!!!
More specifically, there was a four inch flame shooting up from my sweatshirt pocket!
I turned on the kitchen sink, drenched myself with the kitchen hose, and put out the fire. Fearing that the fire would ignite again, I whipped the sweatshirt off over my head and chucked it into the sink where I proceeded to soak it with the hose.
Lord Almighty, what the hell just happened!!!
Of course! I had figured it out.
My cell phone had spontaneously self-combusted! (Who WOULDN’T have come to this conclusion?)
So I did what anyone who thought their phone had spontaneously combusted would do.
I took my sweatshirt out of the sink, inspected the phone-sized hole burned into the front pocket, and I removed the phone. Sure enough, the back of my cell phone was nothing but melted plastic goo. A sure sign my phone had spontaneously self-combusted. (Right?)
With evidence in hand, I used the house phone to call my mother and let her know I had purchased a faulty cell phone which had just spontaneously blown-up while in my pocket .
Concerned for my safety (or mental sanity?) My mom drove to the house where I was babysitting. I greeted her at the door holding my phone with an oven mitt in case it tried to do something fishy again. (To all the parents out there in need of a babysitter, notice that even in a time like this, safety was still my top priority. E-mail me, we can arrange a time for me to watch your kids).
My mom entered the house, took 30 seconds to assess the kitchen scene, and then asked if the phone had been in my pocket while I was cooking. Perhaps, while leaning over the stove?
NO! Oh. Yeah. Um…I guess it had been.
My mom removed her sweatshirt, handed it to me, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Don’t use the stove without an adult around.” (I was 22 years old). Then she walked out the door, got in her car and drove away.
The Cool Down
Eventually, I began to slowly accept that my phone had not spontaneously combusted. I also concluded that I needed a new phone and a new pink sweatshirt.
Catching myself on fire for a second time taught me these lessons:
1) Don’t wear baggy clothing when using a stove or any other appliance that produces fire.
2) Always use the buddy system while cooking. Safety first!
3) It is extremely rare for cell phones to spontaneously self-combust.
I hope you learned something from my story. Fires happen, and YOU may be the kindling that is first to spark! Be prepared.
Stay safe and…