(This story is continued from yesterday….when I left you I was debating whether or not to plug in someone else’s coffee grinder of unknown current needs into a 220V outlet, a decision that may or may not lead to disaster)
After hesitating briefly, I decided I didn’t need anyone’s help and boldly plugged the coffee grinder into the 220V outlet and flipped the switch. Pop!…..(silence). These are the sounds that came from the machine; they were not the sounds of coffee beans changing into a powdered state.
And just like that, with a friendly popping sound, my life had changed. It seemed the universe was laughing at me. Why hadn’t there been an earthquake to indicate the scale of the fiasco? Lightening bolts and pigs flying? A flood and a plague of locusts? The catastrophe didn’t seem real. I imagined that if I ran away, the whole problem would disappear as fast as it had surged into existence.
But I didn’t, and the appliance didn’t magically start working when I tried turning it on and off and putting it into the other outlet. It was, as they say, “fried.” Then I thought, “It’s just a coffee grinder…how expensive could it be to get a new one?” Even as I thought this, I knew in my heart of hearts that it could be very expensive. I had felt how heavy that machine was. I had seen KitchenAid Pro-Line written on its stainless steel side. This appliance had not been meant for the grubby hands of semi-dedicated Arabic students. How had I dared touch the cooking tools of my superiors?
$250 dollars from KitchenAid.com. That was how much this machine cost. 250 smackaroos, big ones, green backs, etc. That’s approximately 1500 Egyptian Pounds, or half of my monthly stipend, or 375 pounds of falafel sandwiches. My heart sank thinking about all those truckloads of sandwich.
If I could just go back and infuse myself with a desire to go to bed early, or afflict myself with a horrible illness, or make me love learning about voltages and currents, then we wouldn’t be in this situation. And yet, here we are. Here I am. And I will foot this bill like the semi-dedicated Arabic student that I am. Hopefully it can be repaired, but if not, I will cross desert and sea in order to bring back another one. And after that, even though I shouldn’t, I will feel entitled to use it whenever I want to go over even more frequently to the apartment filled with expensive things that break all too easily. Someone else, of course, will plug them in.
My Arabic teacher always thanks us for making mistakes so we can learn from them, so here are some takeaways from this experience so far:
1. Voltages matter.
2. There are some things no amount of education can cure.
3. Expensive things break as easily as cheap things.
4. Running away is always an option.
5. The value of money is relative.