It took me about a month and a half to finally decide that I could no longer go without a functioning stove. I had a stove, but it was on the floor of my kitchen, propped against a cabinet. I called maintenance. Surely they know how to hook a gas stove up to the gas tank without anything exploding. They hooked it up, we tested it, and nothing exploded. Good news. Except when I finally decided to use the stove, about three weeks later, I realized the stove only has two flame settings â€“ high and extremely high.
Okay, I can work with this, I thought. I was cooking my vegetable stir fry concoction, trying to hold the pot a bit above the flames so I wouldnâ€™t burn my food, when at one point I had to put it down to get something from the fridge. After no more than 20 seconds I could already smell something burning. That was quick. Since nothing was terribly burnt, I opened the window to clear out any burn smell, and started eating.
A few minutes into my meal, I hear shuffling and talking outside my door. Someone was on a walkie-talkie. I thought, I wonder what happened? Why are the guards here? Then I got a call on my intercom.
â€œGood evening maâ€™am.â€
â€œUh, yeah, good evening.â€
â€œYes, is there a fire in your apartment. The alarm went off.â€
I didnâ€™t know what alarm they were talking about. I had noticed the smoke detectors in my apartment, but I figured they werenâ€™t working when they didnâ€™t go off. I looked up and noticed that the light that usually flashes intermittently had turned bright red. Apparently it sets off an alarm at the guard station instead of inside the apartment.
â€œNo, no. I was just cooking and I burned something.â€
â€œOoooh. Over-toasted. OK.â€
Over-toasted? That was the best euphemism I had ever heard â€“ code for, â€œGreat, we have a bad cook in Unit 6D.â€
I opened the door, realizing that the guards shuffling around outside were there to make sure I didnâ€™t burn the entire highrise to the ground. I said hi and told them I burned something while I was cooking.
â€œOver-toasted?â€ they asked.
They looked satisfied and went back to the guard station.