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What I like and when I like it
I love to have a quiet moment with fresh hot and dark toast. Usually I like to have my toast time in the mornings about 10.30 or so. Some time after breakfast but before lunch. If it’s too close to lunch then I skip it till afternoon tea time which is any time from about 2.30 / 3pm till say about 4.30 or so. Then it’s getting on to dinner time, unless dinner is about 7.30 or 8. Any way, my day feels incomplete without my quiet toast time.
I mean quiet – no distractions such as mowers along the street or the phone ringing. I don’t take work to do with the toast, I don’t read the mail or listen to music, i even escape from my computer during toast time. I prefer to go and sit outside for my toast, rain hail or shine, hot or cold, I like to go outside for my toast.

About the toast itself, I like thick toast slices. It can be plain ‘white’ bread with some jam or marmalade on it, no butter or marg these days. Or it can be raisin toast or my preference if I can get it is fruit and nut toast as served in good cafes. In the city it has apricot and nuts but around here any kind of fruit such as banana as long as it is nutty too. But that sort of fruit and nut bread is not available to the consumer around the towns and suburbs via the supermarkets or even the bread shops. So, plain toast or the fruit loaf which is available. It also has to be toasted well, not just warm, brown not black and a bit dry but not crispy so that it breaks into bits, that’s too dry and hard. I am particular about my toast and the time and place.

Yesterday it got to about 4 or 4.30 when I had a chance to get my toast time. I’d been busy or distracted with other things till then. It was still sunny although a cool change had breezed through, my wife was going out for a while and as I say, no distractions and no pressing work to do. I had to clear the kitchen bench and do some washing up but that could wait till i had finished the toast and I’d was up the plate and coffee cup too. I decided not to have coffee though and just have the toast. Make it simple. I decided to have raisin toast with jam or marmalade. The marmalade had been finished in last night’s mince dish which I baked for dinner. I put on the TV just for the moment while the bread was defrosting prior to going in the toaster. I don’t like to cook it from the frozen state. So on when the TV and out came the frozen raisin bread, two slices. Got the toaster out and put it on the bench and plugged it in ready to go. Meanwhile I got changed into warmer clothes due to the cold outside as I didn’t wanna be distracted by the cold. So then the bread goes into the toaster and i get some strawberry jam out of the fridge to come to room temp so it’s not too cold on the toast. Don’t like cold jam on hot toast. It makes the toast cold too quickly.

The phone rings, the TV goes off. It’s my wife wanting a phone number she’d written in her diary, so I get that for her. TV on again. Back to the bread. I just want some toast.!!

The phone rings again so I turn off the TV and answer it. I speak to the caller for at least 5 mins, the caller is my employment consultant. It’s about the chance of work or applying for jobs. So i am patient with her because I want work and she wants to help me.

Ok, back to the TV, then the phone rings again. I just want some toast.!!

It’s my wife again just to check that phone number, the last 3 digits got mixed up. So I go back to her diary and read it out again. I tell her about the call from my employment consultant so we chat about that for a while but I just want some toast.!! So I get back to the TV and the bread by this time is defrosted.

The phone rings again !! I just want some toast.!!
This time it’s my mother-in-law who sounds in distress but can’t express herself clearly, her daughter is out so I suggest she call back in an hour. Ok. Then I get back to the TV, put it on again. I wanted to catch the news but it’s too late now. I put the bread into the toaster and put it down to cook.
Suddenly the telly goes off and the toast pops up simultaneously!!
Oh what’s happened? I just want some toast.
Why had both toaster and telly suddenly gone off? Power outage, black out? I look around the house, other appliances are powered, such as the radio in the bathroom and the VCR in the back lounge room and the phone machine in the front bedroom. The lights are working too. So a partial power outage. Actually a power outage in part of the house. Shall I call it the garage side? Then the house alarm begins to beep indicating a power cut to the alarm controller. I just want some toast.!!
So the toaster is not working, nor is the alarm, the power is off so I need to get the key to the electricity box outside so I can flick the fuse switch.
I eventually find that key in the laundry. Open the power box. Oh, meanwhile I smell something had burnt, not the bread! Something electrical. I wonder if there is an electrical fire in the roof cavity and if the house will burn down before my wife returns. What will I do? Call the electrician to check? It’s after 5 by now, getting late. What could he do? He could check everything. If there’s a fire, I can’t do much about that. Think calmly Paul. It’s probably the toaster. Ok, having turned off the toaster at the wall plug, I go out and open the meter box and sure enough it’s fuse number 6, which covers the garage side of the house. I remembered that from the first week in the house 12 years ago. So I flick the switch on again. I just want some toast.!! I go back in, plug the toaster into another socket. It works. Great, I’m going to get my toast after all. NO. The power goes off in that part of the house again. I just want some toast.!! But I now know it is the toaster at fault, not a fire in the roof. 90% sure of that. No flames or stronger smell of smoke.

So, forget the TV, focus on what’s happening. I need to go out again and flick the switch number 6. Toaster off, check. Power on, check.
This time because I just want some toast.!!, I turn on the griller under the oven. Turn it on both sides and put the bread, partially toasted by now, and turn down the heat. I am desperate for toast by now, but I don’t wanna burn it. I turn it over for the other side to be cooked. Deep breath!
The toast is done, I spread it with the strawberry jam, cut it, get a paper towel for the crumbs and go outside in the cool afternoon light and sit down determined to have the toast without interruption. I will not answer the phone. Even if my wife returns home, I will sit there and finish my toast. I just want some toast.!!.

So I do get my toast. I glance across to the neighbours’ house and think, I just wanted some toast. That’s all. And I got it. Yea!
My wife arrives as I am in the kitchen putting the plate on the bench next to the washing up which is yet to be done. I tell her ‘welcome home’. I just took one and a half hours to have some toast and the washing up has not been done as promised before she went out.
Time for a big hug but at least I had my toast.


Paul Ward

Bateau Bay, Australia

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Creative writing based on true domestic events

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