Jeanne Ellin: Exploding eggs and unhelpful voices

Banner with Jeanne Ellin's quoteEggs bursting out of their shells fill the kitchen with drama, shortly sound tracked by the agitating whine of the fire alarm.

elderly lady frustratedI had nodded off, leaving what I’d intended to be hardboiled eggs for tea bubbling softly.

Turned off the cooker, moved the pan and opened windows and doors. Pulled the extractor fan to add its might to the noise pollution.

The voice from the wall asked if there was a fire or smoke. I said “No, only a dry pan and some burst eggs.”

However the alarm was not subsiding so the voice informed me that the smoke, that I could not see or smell, must have got up around the detector. I should waft a paper about to disperse it.

I said that the ceilings were 20ft or more high and I am under 5ft. She suggested that I aim my vacuum cleaner up at the alarm.

I said that I could not do this.

We continued this exchange for some time with the alarm still active. She asked if the smoke had dispersed. I said I could not see or smell any.

She suggested the vacuum cleaner again and I replied, again, that I could not do this as it was too heavy for me to get out of the cupboard.

We tracked round this circle for another three repetitions. Then a variant.

“Can’t you lift the cleaner?”

I repeated that I could not. It lives in the cupboard between visits from my weekly helper.

I felt a bit cross and said I lived here because I needed help. Then she suggested asking a neighbour to lift the cleaner. I explained that they all lived here for similar reasons of weakness.

Finally the alarm stopped and she disappeared back into the wall without further help or advice.

I gathered a surprisingly widely scattered amount of egg and shells and had peanut spread instead of boiled eggs for tea.

Jeanne Ellin

About Jeanne Ellin

I am a poet working at living a creative life in a one room flat, companioned by a menagerie of chronic health problems. I began this series of posts after being inspired by two women younger than myself, who, fearful of their imagined old age spent in ill health and poverty, committed suicide. I explore every year as a bonus of adventures, with moments of discomfort or fear, but with unexpected treasure to be found - helped by a sense of the ridiculous, a world perspective and creativity.