I have found people outraged at a common misconception in the world of kitchen appliances and I have found it both extremely nonsensical but also highly intriguing. This misconception is that the toaster dial features numbers to display which degree of toasting you would prefer- the intensity of the toasting experience. In reality, while it does sound nice, the numbers actually correspond with the amount of time you would keep an item in before it pops. Now, this is not a misconception held by all people. There are some young scholars who grew up with the knowledge already. How did they know? I wish I could say. If you fall into the category of those who grew up with open eyes, then I congratulate you. I grew up believing the dial and the numbers were a gauge for toaster intensity. I don’t blame myself. Maybe because it felt like a stereo amplifier that displays the range of volume, or that I wasn’t sure how to account for time in such a vague range of whole numbers. Whatever it was, I was duped by Big Kitchen (the companies that control my cooking and other meal prepping experiences).
But, despite the outrage I have seen over this discovery (a discovery that comes at some point in everyone’s life), I think it could make for an interesting view on how we value time and what time is supposed to do for us. In my experience with this topic, it seems that people are frustrated with the truth of it: they would rather the toaster dial reference the intensity of the toasting experience instead of the time it is spent being toasted. But what is the difference there? It seems like people are bored by the idea that it is just numbers and not a more magical toaster experience. Maybe they were afraid of the toaster getting even more boring than it was before. Maybe it is the fear of life becoming more monotonous, even for the toaster; the mystique was done away with. But the truth is, we would rather think of the effort and journey of life’s fruits than we would the time spent to yield them. Setting your toaster to “3” will make your toaster “3-ier” and it will take “3-ier” time to do it, but the moment you consider that the time spent being “3-ier” the more daunting it becomes. We don’t like thinking of the time we have to spend doing things. Just as we don’t like hearing how much time we spend a year being asleep, or at a stop sign, or on public transportation. And, for that matter, how long we spend making toast. It’s uncomfortable, but this bridge between the implied effort and the known time-put-in could be an enlightening discovery. If we have a daunting project ahead of us, and we want to do it well, we may decide to set our internal “toaster dial”, so to speak, to a 5, or a 6. But, the more well you would like to do your work, the more time you have to be willing to put in. It’s a difficult truth to face sometimes, but it is also a hopeful message for those who are willing to put in the time.