24 April 2014
What happened if water was alive and conspired to hurt you for fun?
And what if it chose to do so at the most unsuspecting place like….the office pantry?
The office pantry is perhaps the single important location in the urban jungle environment. It is a source of potable water in the building, serving as the modern day village well to bad mouth the fashion sense of colleagues, discuss celebrity gossip and even plot office politics! While some rare companies even have fully stocked refrigerators, most come equipped with microwaves. It is with this seemingly innocuous that our cautionary, make-believe tale revolves around….
520pm – the time of the day when everything starts to wind down. It’s the hour when less time is spent doing work and more time is spent surfing blog shops and reading forums like Eat-Drink-Man-Woman. In the case of office administrator Janice it’s time for a late afternoon pantry raid.
In the quiet, marble tiled pantry, she pulls out a small box of Ladureé macaroons and prepares to make a cup of tea. She still has some bottled distilled water left from lunch. In line with the idea of “waste not, want not”, she empties the distilled water into a mug and leaves it into the microwave to boil. It is after all common practice in some office pantries to use the microwave to boil water right? With a quiet, high pitched beep, the microwaves finishes its cycle and Janice opens the door to pick up her mug.
And that’s when it happens.
Upon the slightest whisper of contact between skin and the ceramic mug, the water jumps outward like a volcano erupting. The superheated liquid sears Janice’s hand and the pain is excruciating. What happened!?
Has the sixth age begun?
Was the water possessed?
Was the microwave booby trapped?
Unfortunately no. And perhaps this video by the Mythbusters will explain it better:
While it is a common practice in some companies to use the microwave to boil water, care should always be taken to not boil distilled water. In fact, companies should put a stop to this practice and purchase electric kettles (and while we’re at it, better pantry resources) for their staff.
By Clarke Kent (who is currently in the process of legally changing his name to Steve Rogers)