Three days ago, my teakettle, which has kept me company for as many years as I can remember, twee’d its last. I would not call ours a relationship, but I had certainly grown accustomed to its wheezing temperament and it had acquired enough of a personality to make me feel its passing was that of a friend. The stopper cap broke at its plastic hinge, quite unexpectedly—like when a light bulb you are certain you just replaced flickers, then sizzles out entirely—dropping with great derring-do into my mug.
The parting ceremony was brief, but the mourning period lingers. The changeling is a pot of smaller stature. Its cap does not automatically flip up; rather, I am required to pull a lever just under the handle—like the trigger of a gun—which makes me feel as though I must take aim when using it. It is, furthermore, an overly motivated and off-balance specimen that dips its nose forward at the first sense of levitation—clearly more rushed than I to perform and be done with it.
But perhaps the most noticeable factor that makes it clear my new kettle has not yet settled here (or that I have not settled with it), is that we lack the pleasant synchronization enjoyed by its predecessor and me. The progression of vocal changes elicited from the departed was so familiar; I knew it would start to steam softly, that slowly its sighing would get louder and louder, and then—just when it seemed as though it was about to whistle—it would suddenly grow very quiet. This was the moment to finally rise and remove it from the burner. I had this down, always waiting for the calm before the storm, then acting with due haste. I enjoy no such pattern anymore. I have tried to listen for one, but am daily more convinced that I am in possession of a spiteful apparatus, which takes a certain amount of enjoyment out of seeing me half-rise from my chair, sit down, rise, sit, rise, walk over, modify its position on the stove, test its warmth. Then, just as I settle back to work, it gives a little scream. The only upside from the inconvenience I have discerned thus far is that it provides me with an additional excuse not to write, for as every writer knows, not writing is part of the process. Perhaps, then, we are a perfect pair.