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I’ve had my food processor for decades. Obviously I don’t use it often since it still works. A modern day miracle — but since it was built in the pre-throw away era, it’s a true relic of a bygone era…much like myself.

Last weekend, my neighbor asked to borrow it to make pesto. “No problem,” I answered. (We have what amounts to a small black market economy going: I babysit his kid, I babysit his dog,I water his plants and collect his mail when he’s away; he fixes my plumbing, lugs heavy bags of salt to my basement, looks after my birds when I travel.)

The next day, I realized that I needed it to make breadcrumbs for the burgers Crazy D would be making for our family reunion when Gill arrived. I hot-footed it across the street to retrieve the food processor. As I set it up on my counter, I wondered where the cord was. Had he taken it out and forgotten to replace it? I turned the appliance around so I could see the back. Then I discovered the cord, neatly wrapped up in a special recessed compartment. In the decades I’ve had this thing, I have NEVER noticed this compartment! I have always simply placed the machine in the cupboard after use and thrown the dangling cord in after it where it was free to entangle itself with the other loose cords in the cupboard. I didn’t want to know what the cords got up to. It was none of my business and I didn’t ask embarrassing questions.

When Gill watched my reaction to this earth-shattering discovery, she chortled. “Ma! I can’t believe you missed that! Are you blind?”

Actually, yes. Partially. Coming from Gill, the one who always accuses me of being blind as a bat, I would have thought she’d have considered her observation irrelevant or at least redundant.

“No, I’m not blind! I just have never had a need to look at the ass end of a food processor. Why would I?”

“Why indeed?” Gill countered. “Perhaps to wind the cord up so it doesn’t fall out of the cupboard when you open the door? Or perhaps to clean the back of it? Or perhaps just because enquiring minds want to know? For a fairly smart person, Ma, I have to say your level of inquiry into how things work is astoundingly feeble.”

“Right back at you. All I need to know is where to plug it in and how to push start to make crumbs. Beyond that, I don’t have to know and I certainly don’t have to care. And you’ve known me for 40 years. Have you not seen the tangle of my vacuum hose, the outdoor garden hose, the dog’s breakfast of tangled wires surrounding my computer? What on earth made you think I’d single out this particular random appliance –that I use perhaps three times a year– for special treatment?”

“Hope springs eternal…”

“Well, I do admit this revelation about the storage place for the cord has come as a bit of a shock. Perhaps I should retrieve the manual and investigate. Perhaps the thing does a myriad of specialty things about which I have no idea.”

“Good luck with that, Ma. You have thrown out every manual you’ve ever had– always before consulting it for the ‘how to operate’ instructions’. If you do still have that manual (and my bookie is taking bets), that would indeed be a miracle — possibly only second to the next coming of Christ. Besides, what would you do with any new knowledge about the machine? You’d simply ignore it and carry on as before…unenlightened, uncaring, and unperturbed. There’s a reason all three of us are stubborn and you’re it!”

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