Popcorn Night

Digital lapse was endured.

Familiar with it? That’s when you click or press and nada takes place. But, being experienced, you know that something has taken place. It’s just not revealed. Novices will think nothing has happened and press buttons or click more. The clicks and taps accumulate, causing a crash or a sudden surge of activities that take you to somewhere that you don’t want to be, digitally speaking, like the wrong screen.

I’m not a novice. I’ve been clicking remotes on digital devices for a decade. Digital lapse is an old adversary. I experience it most with our streaming devices for viewing television shows and movies. Disney Plus is the worst offender in my current stable of providers. But finally I was on the screen where “The Mandalorian” was being offered. One blessing from the Disney Plus site is that it doesn’t immediately start playing trailers. It’s just quiet. Waiting.

I jumped up and set down the remote. Head down, a cat eyed me, ears moving toward my racket. “Popcorn?” I moved around my desk.

We were in the office. We are spoiled people. Although we have a sixty-five inch curved-screen 4K ultra-high definition smart TV in the living room, with surround sound, we do ninety percent of our television viewing in the home office. My wife calls it the snug. A twenty-seven inch flat screen television is mounted on one wall. My desk faces it. So does a recliner in the corner. My wife reclined there. Busy with a game on her AirMac or whatever her Apple machine is called, she nodded.

Making popcorn has become simple. Back when I was a child, popping corn required oil, popcorn, and a big black cast iron Dutch oven. Oil was spread across the bottom. The Dutch oven’s bottom, not mine. You know, inside it. Heat applied. Three kernels were dropped in. A lid applied. The kernels were monitored. Once they popped, kernels were poured in and spread across the hot oil, covering the bottom. Lid applied, a pot holder was acquired. I’d stand there, shaking the Dutch over as the kernels popped.

Jiffy Pop changed it. No need to pour everything. Just peel off the cardboard lid, hold the tin pan over the flame, and shake as the kernels cooked and the foil cover rose.

Microwaves changed it up again. We experimented with several methods before Pop Secret came along. It was just a folded bag. Put it in the microwave, one side up, and press the button. Then monitor as the popping proceeded.

Monitoring has remained the constant. The popcorn was always being monitored. Was that the last pop? Time to stop.

Deciding that we didn’t like that kind of microwave popcorn, our household had regressed back to where I’d started, oil in pan, kernels, lid, popping, add corn, lid, shake. No longer, though. We’d acquired a silicon microwave popcorn maker last year. No oil. Pour the popcorn in to the line. Apply silicon lid. Turn microwave on for four minutes. Monitor. Is that the last pop? Count to five.

It’s amazingly simple, quiet, and easy. So is clean up. I fear that it won’t last. News will break. Scientists will announce that radicalized burrblelons released from the silicon attacks your nervous system when you ingest popcorn made in such a manner. That’s how everything seems to be: something good is found and announced. We like it. Then we discover it’s bad for you or the world.

I poured the popcorn into bowls, flavored it with nutritional yeast, cleaned out the silicon popper and put it away, and headed back to the snug.

The cat had taken my seat. Curled up tightly, he didn’t bother looking up. Ears and tail were still. His eyes were closed. Probably pretending to be asleep.

Dropping to my knees on the carpet beside him, I picked up the remote and pressed play. Digital lapse was endured. Then the show began.

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