Palpable relief?

It was baking day yesterday; would the oven be fixed?

Over time, I think it’s natural to develop work-arounds, ways of accommodating when things don’t go according to plan. So if the fan oven element could not be repaired, or if the problem was deeper in the electronics somewhere I couldn’t reach, there was still the other side which works without a fan. Work-arounds are all very well, but there’s nothing like the offending item working as it really should.

So I put the pieces together, breathing a quiet paean of thanks to my unusually astute self for having acquired the releasing spray oil when the last screw wouldn’t budge, and we waited to see if the oven would heat up again. I thought I might be able to feel that vaunted ‘palpable sense of relief’ that’s a cliché of hoary old usage, but when the verdict came back, ‘Yes! It’s at 200ºC!’ no waves of crescendoing delight coursed through my veins. Instead I just smiled, responded with a few words of delight, and carried on with the washing-up.

I thought, the palpability will come when the baker puts the cake together, and it rises. I might feel the sweet thrill of success when the two layers are put together with a coating of icing. The problem there is that I don’t really eat cake anymore. But other members of the family do! And later yesterday morning the two nicely-risen layers were delivered from their tins to the cooling rack, and I snapped an image of that tangible aspect of a fixed oven.

But that palpable relief, the kind you can feel in your bones as it were, I think that will have to be vicarious, later this weekend, as the cake is presented and consumed. Perhaps I can smile modestly, if my efforts are remarked upon, and say, oh it was nothing really, just a like-for-like replacement, only three screws and a couple of spade connectors at the back, and voilà, it was done. And that would be the honest truth, of course — my efforts are as naught compared to the daily persistence of the baker producing her bread — but I think I will still have a little shiver of accomplishment, of special delight, when cake is enjoyed by our loved ones. That would be the cake that came out of the oven that I fixed.

For now, I’m just having a quiet epiphany of success, an internal joy that doesn’t manifest physically but is somehow real.

One response to “Palpable relief?”

  1. Larry, Your poetic command of the English language makes today’s Joy fun to read.. Never thought I’d say that about an account of a man fixing his oven. Write on, Henry*

    * I mistakenly thought that the exclamatory phrase, “right on” began with our generation. Turns out it began circa 1911. Origins unknown. Some claim it came from Afro-American slang. Others say it came from military speak about being right on target. I prefer to think it became a well known phrase from our days of social revolution.


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