I have to confess, I burned my bagel twice today. In a row. The first time was typical and excusable: I'd occupied myself typing happily here at my computer until the charred victim's screams finally reached my nostrils. With a semi-frantic dash to the toaster oven, I assessed the incinerated carcass and emptied the toaster oven contents into trash can, swiftly, in order to avoid burnt fingers and cover up the crime.
Guiltily, I popped in a second bagel, aware of the fact that George would notice two were now missing from the bag, and I would have to admit that I burned one. He had warned me earlier--on four separate occasions, mind you--that this new oven toasted things really fast, to which I scoffed, "Oh yeah, like that's the most incredible oven I've ever seen. And you've said that four times already, gosh!" Continuing, I teased him for showing signs of premature senility.
I'm not sure exactly how much time elapsed during the second offense; I forget. I returned to my seat at the computer, glanced over my shoulder at the glowing window, and saw once again a black object where a golden brown one should be. The repetitive nature of my folly is embarrassing; the demise of Bagel Number Two was identically dismal.
Should I try again? I'm a violinist; I inserted Bagel Number Three. This time, I watched. You know what they say about a watched pot never boiling, right? Have you taken the time out of your schedule to focus on a bagel long enough to watch it toast? Normally, I would call this an arduous task, but not today. It wasn't like watching leaves change color. It wasn't like watching stubble grow on a chin, or even like watching a sunset. No, it unfolded more like a time lapse in a science film. In about fifteen seconds, the edges started to tan. Two more, and the middle began to brown. In a total of only twenty seconds, the bagel had achieved deep sienna. I've never seen anything like it.
Three bagels later, I guess George was right after all. At least it didn't take four times to figure it out.