I got home late from work last night - around 8 PM. Obviously I was ravenous, so I put on some rice and started thinking about what to have with the rice. My boyfriend Terrence called, proposing we meet some friends out at the Warren Tavern. "Sure!" I said, turned off the rice timer, grabbed my coat, and walked out the door.
One burger, two beers, and three and a half hours later, I return home. The foyer of my apartment building smells awful, so Terrence and I rushed to get inside my apartment... where the smell just got worse. No. No. No!!! I left the rice on for three hours. My entire apartment reeked like burnt hair, burnt BBQ, and cigarette smoke. "This must be what burnt rice smells like," I thought.
I'm just lucky I used a good pot (now ruined), and the burning situation was kept to a minimum. I just have stinky clothes and furniture as a reminder as I wait for the burnt smell to dissipate from the air. It could have been much, much worse.
Today I'll be calling to get renter's insurance, buying a rice cooker with an auto-off function, and sending a donation to the Red Cross, which often helps fire victims. Next time I hear about a family put out of their home by fire, maybe I'll help collect food and clothing for them. I know just a little tiny bit about what it's like to be in that situation and how easy it is to get there, and it makes me more compassionate.
So thank you, burnt rice, for reminding me not to wait until I'm in or have been in the same situation as someone else before I take action to help. Thank you for reminding me to be compassionate, to try to understand how someone might have ended up in their situation. Thank you for reminding me to keep giving. And to get renter's insurance.