Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Come On Baby Light My Fire

aka Kids, Don't Try This At Home...

aka Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Fire...

aka Always Wear Natural Fibers...

aka That Bamboo Is Sturdy Stuff...

Can you imagine where I'm going with this? Yep, lit myself on fire last night while cooking dinner. Nope, nobody was hurt (not even the hand-knit shirt I was wearing). I was pretty darn shaky after the fact, though. Thoroughly freaked out, as you can imagine.

I'll bet you're wondering how on earth I managed to light myself up, right? Well, the crappy matches they sell here in France make it a remarkably easy task, actually. That combined with the fact that the electric clicker component thingie (its technical name, I'm sure) of our stove no longer functions makes a dangerous combination, I guess. I have always had a lot of trouble lighting these particular matches. I realized that lighting away from me (striking in an outward direction) worked less often than lighting towards me. So, I'd recently developed the habit of striking inward. This worked just fine until last night when I decided to rewarm dinner. I struck a match, and a portion of the tip (the part that is meant to light the match) detached from the rest of the match. That's what I mean when I say these are crappy matches. This stuff comes off in mid-strike all the time. It just doesn't usually come off lit up. That's where last night differed from the usual. So, this little ball of fire flew at me and ignited my hand-knit Southwest Trading Company Bamboo shirt. A whole portion of the belly area was flaming like the alcohol on a Cherries Jubilee. I patted frantically for as long as it took me to realize that was about as effective as fanning the flames. When I saw them travel upward toward my chest and shoulder, the shirt came off faster than a bra in a 1960's political rally. The whole thing ended up in a charred-smelling pile on the floor.

It took me a little while of standing half-naked in the kitchen before I actually picked the thing back up. I was pretty impressed with what I saw. Take a look...

This is the section that caught on fire. You can't see any damage at all. I'm not even sure what it was that was burning. Leftover chemical dye residue?? I'm really baffled by this one. Aside from a slight odor of burnt hair, you'd never even know anything happened.

So, the moral of this story - actually, there are several.

  1. Light away from you, even if it takes ten matches to get a light.
  2. Always wear non-synthetic aprons.
  3. Don't inadvertently fan the flames when they are on your body.
  4. Surely, I should have gotten some other lesson from this experience, but I can be a slow learner. Perhaps #4 should be that I should not cook in hand-knit garments that I might be disappointed to lose.