Just now, after I pressed “quick min” twice, I turned away. That’s too long to stand, watching the countdown. I can’t stomach letting 120 seconds pass while I gaze, mindless, at the clock. Even 30 seconds seem like a stretch. But some days I’m reckless, and I watch the numbers change, marking the seconds remaining until the bell signals that the steaming plate is ready. The seconds pass, forever gone.

 

When I once made what I called “airline eggs,” I watched them cook, a pale yellow with green flecks of dill and parsley, in a flat white bowl. The eggs puffed like a sad soufflé in almost no time at all.

Ten digitally measured seconds go quickly; six such seconds leave no time to think. Sometimes I punch in three 10-second intervals, one right after the other, to… More…