Sometimes I panic. It doesn’t happen often. It’s really annoying.

I’ll be sitting in class, or at my computer at work, and from out of nowhere an insistent voice will start nipping at me.

Did you forget to put the iron back after you used it? Was it still plugged in? Does the iron have an auto off function? Did you leave the coffee maker? How about the stove? Did you leave that on after making that disaster of an omelet? Is the apartment burning down right this second, destroying not only all of your precious crap, but also all of your neighbour’s stuff? Yes, even the stuff of the obnoxious caretakers and the people next door who blast their classic rock at inhuman levels. And your beautiful but illict cats, kept even though it’s against the apartment rules - how about them? And all of the other illicit cats in the building, and that parakeet in apartment 6? How about it, you bastard?

Visions of the apartment reduced to rubble flood my mind, with a surly fire chief standing over the charred remains of our papasan chair, shaking his head: “Some goof left his iron on. I see it all too often.” The cats gone, my burgeoning collection of Nigerian funk music CD’s melted, my favorite “Rolando” shirt a vintage briquette.

I’ve added “check the stove and iron before leaving” to my morning ritual.

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