People Who Do

My mom and I were talking recently about some fairly meaningless things and she said, “I have lots of categories where I feel like people fall on one side or another. One of the categories I have is. . . “

Because of what we’d been talking about, I knew exactly what she was going to say: “People who use toaster ovens and people who don’t.”

My family falls decidedly on the “people who don’t” side of the toaster oven category. My parents have never owned one and I remember vividly the first time I saw one when we stayed in a condo in California when I was around 11 or 12 (and I had to ask what it was).

And then, when Bart and I were registering before our wedding, he said, “I’d like to register for a toaster oven.” I would never even CONSIDERED registering for one; I hardly even knew what you might use it for. Did we eat enough bagels to justify having one? Did it do anything besides that? Wasn’t that what a TOASTER was for?

One of Bart’s uncles and aunts kindly bought it for us and Bart declared, several times, that it was his very. favorite. gift. A toaster oven! I was floored.

And then our first apartment had what was possibly the world’s worst oven. The very first thing I tried to cook was banana bread and it rose VERY fast and then spilled all over the floor of the oven and never cooked through. (There were tears). Out came the toaster oven and I used it exclusively the whole time we lived there as a regular oven. And then in Texas, we kept it on the counter because I could either use TWO ovens at the same time or I could avoid turning on the regular oven and making the kitchen approximately the same temperature as Hades. I was suddenly a “person who uses a toaster oven.”

Since this conversation, I’ve thought a lot about the categories I mentally note but have never really consciously thought about: People who chew gum and people who don’t. People who listen to the radio and people who don’t. People who go barefoot when possible and people who don’t. These categories aren’t in judgemental ways – more just a way to keep track of people. An “oh, yes, she knows something about cooking because she is a ‘person who makes dinner on a regular basis.'”

I have amused myself all week thinking of the many many categories I have for all different areas of life. Maybe there is a “People who categorize others and people who don’t” category. If so, I’m on the “People who do” side.

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  • Reply Emily February 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I also never used a toaster oven growing up. But my sister has a roommate with one so when I've stayed with her I've used it a few times and really enjoyed it. Just the other day said sister pointed out we might want one for the summer here. Already turning the oven on causes us to open up all the windows, in February! How will I do any cooking during the summer here?? I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for toaster oven deals.

  • Reply Jess February 24, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I don't think I categorize people much. I fall in the middle of the toaster oven divide. I had one growing up, in fact it was the only toaster we had. Then I bought a slot toaster and we mostly use that. However we did get a toaster oven as a wedding gift and we use it occasionally to make toasted sandwiches and other stuff that can't go sideways into a toaster slot. But I don't use it regularly and wouldn't miss it that much if it were gone.

  • Reply Jessica February 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I am, decidely, a person who uses a toaster oven. Although after moving to Boston, I turned into A Person Who Makes Toast on a Panini Maker… but that's a whole different story

    A humorous semi-aside…. as per my recent blog post, I decided that most people in life are either a Frog or a Toad. I told a classmate, who'd read the same stack of easy readers as I for class that day, of my hypothesis. "I am a Toad," I said. She replied, "I am definitely an Amelia Bedelia"

  • Reply Elizabeth February 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I seriously find this topic insanely fascinating. I do it all the time in head too – just today I was thinking I am also in the "people who believe in middle names" category.
    But for the record, I am not a toaster oven kind of girl, and I am pretty sure Erik and I had a violent fight over the issue when we were registering. I won, of course, and we continue on in our toaster oven free existence.
    Although now I have a TERRIBLE craving for banana bread.

  • Reply Ralphie February 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    People who love avacados.
    People who like opera.
    People who blog.
    People who bite their finger nails.
    People who use butter.
    People who like slap stick comedies.
    People who work out.
    People who are reliable. (believe you me, I have learned a lot about this category)
    People who read.

    Golly, this is fun!

  • Reply Shelly February 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Yeah, I do this, too. And while I try really hard not to judge, I do make some value assessments based on my categorizations.

    For example, if you are not a "person who reads", we probably do not have much in common.

  • Reply Kimberly February 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I'm totally with Ralphie on the butter thing. Everyone says "pass the butter, please" but not everyone uses real butter (in fact, my in-laws have given me weird looks when I dig around in their fridge when they ask for butter instead of handing them the Country Crock bucket, which is decidedly not butter).

    It can get tricky, though. I went through 3 or 4 outfits our first week in this new ward because I did not want to get instantly pegged as one of "those women" or worse, "those mothers."

    Still, I have no idea how to use a toaster oven. Kudos to you!

  • Reply RA February 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I only ever used temperamental, smoke-alarm-inducing toasters growing up, so the introduction to the wonder of the toaster oven, which was a registered wedding gift, was lovely, indeed.

    As for your other categories: I don't chew gum, I listen to the radio (the news, during my morning commute), I don't like being barefoot, I (mostly JG, though) make dinner on a regular basis, and – big shocker! – I definitely categorize people.

    Ralphie, the "People who read" category is HUGE to me. My first boyfriend didn't read, and when my mom found out, she looked at me like I was insane. Because I was, clearly.

  • Reply Miri February 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    This is interesting, also because people often switch categories at different times in their lives. For example: Until about two years ago, I was a person who does not (EVER) listen to audiobooks. Now I love them. I used to be a person who chews gum, all. the. time. Now I have one pack in my purse for months and it only ever gets used when Mike wants it. One that I don't think will ever change is that I am a person who uses real butter. That's all my mom ever used, and I can't stomach the other stuff.

    Here's one–people who like cilantro, and people who HATE it. It's pretty much usually one extreme or the other, isn't it? (Mike and I are both in the second category.)

  • Reply Operation Pink Herring February 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I characterize people too, and not in a judgemental way. There are people who are naturally put together and people who have to work at it. There are people who need a set amount of couch time to feel happy and people who are happy to out after work every night of the week. There are people who like to travel and people who don't. People who love Lifetime movies and people who don't get why you'd willingly watch bad TV. People who like talking on the phone and people who'd rather text, email or send messages via carrier pigeon. I don't think of these characterizations as judgements at all, they're just statements of fact. It's a lot easier to interact with a person once you've realized they're just not going to read your emails because they prefer talking on the phone, or that they're always going to be 15 minutes late, or whatever!

  • Reply TheMoncurs February 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I love you for this post.

    I'm a total categorizer. The world needs order and placing people in neat categories helps me feel like it's nice and orderly.

    Today I am: one of those people who lets babies scream in the laundry room. Also, one who eats too much leftover pizza while a baby screams in the laundry room.

  • Reply Packrat February 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Chuckling. 🙂 I do this, too. As others have said, I try not to be judgmental.

    I was given a toaster oven when I started college (pre-microwave days). It was a big hit in the dorm. When it died (15 years later), I tried replacing it, but none ever quite worked as well as the first one.

    I still have two, though. One was a gift, and one I bought at a yard sale for a couple of dollars. The yard sale one is really almost a counter top oven. It will hold a large casserole dish. Comes in handy during holidays.

  • Reply Laurie February 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    My big 'category' is … people who read and people who don't. I'm definitely a reader and cannot fathom not reading every day. My hubby? So not in the same boat as I am.

    As for toaster ovens, we had one when we were first married and loved it … especially when the kids were young and I could quickly cook something for them without heating up the kitchen. Our toaster oven has since died (tragically) but we now have a wonderful Krups toaster which has helped to lesson the blow 😉 No plans to replace the toaster oven … I have enough small appliances as it is and a toaster oven is too small to make enough food for my 3 kids now that they're bigger. Heating up the oven is necessary now to feed them all at once.

  • Reply craftyashley February 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    And you will use that toaster oven when your little one is eating exactly FIVE chicken nuggets- and warming up a whole oven for five nuggets is lame! Our toaster oven is used about 3 or more times a day- toasting waffles or pancakes, making actual toast, corn dogs, a small portion of french fries, you name it!

  • Reply Kristi February 24, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Man, I see your posts and always thing, I'll be the first to comment. And then I come and there are already ten bajillion comments : )

    I had never even heard of toaster ovens till I married Blaine, and now I am a firm believer!

    And also…we had similar discussions about rice cookers. Actually it was a full on fight. I don't even know how to cook rice without one, and Blaine thinks I am an idiot. Whatever. Psh.

    The point of this post wasn't really about toaster ovens was it? It was about categorizing people. Crud. I guess I fall in the "people who miss the general overtones of blog posts" category 😉

  • Reply Señora H-B February 25, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I'm definitely a categorizer. I don't know that I pass judgment or reject someone, but it helps me keep track.

  • Reply Laurie February 25, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Oooooh, this is good.
    People who listen to country
    People who iron their clothes
    People who bring their lunch to work
    People who drink regular coke
    People who don't floss

    It's sort of bad, but I definitely make snap judgements when I categorize people in only two groups like this. It's not always bad judging. For the people who iron their clothes, I find them admirable, actually. If only I had the time and energy! Where do they get it? OK, but for the rest of those ones I listed, I guess it is kind of bad judgey. I should really work on that.

  • Reply Chelsea February 25, 2010 at 6:10 am

    This was quite an entertaining post! I chuckled my way through most of it. I don't think I really categorize people. I have a hard time saying I do something all the time or never. I'm usually somewhere in the middle on almost any issue.

    On the toaster oven issue, I've used it…but only a few times. I had no idea you could use it to substitute your regular oven. That's crazy! Although I doubt it will ever get hot enough here to make me buy one just for that reason. Although, having 2 ovens at once could be soooo useful! Does a roaster count?

  • Reply Miri February 25, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    So, I keep thinking about this now! And this morning I thought of people who say "bless you" and people who don't.

  • Reply S February 25, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    My feelings on toaster ovens are that they are a fire hazard. Although I've never actually owned one myself!
    I categorize people to some extent. Like, people who use their turn signal and people who don't.

  • Reply megan February 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I wish we had a toaster oven. I keep trying to convince Roger. Maybe I ought to just go buy one. But then, it wouldn't really replace the toaster, and I don't have extra counterspace. What to do… I guess I am in the people who don't know whether to get a toaster oven category.

  • Reply McCulloch Moments February 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    People who love Blue Bell
    Please who sneak candy into movies
    People who notice other people that don't wash their hands in public restrooms (ew)
    People who always use hand sanitizer all. the. time. (me)
    People who utilize DVR and never watch commercials
    People who love and I mean LOOOVE LOST
    People who comment on blogs

    Man…I love this post!
    Oh there's another one!… people who love this post!! 🙂

  • Reply Kelly J. February 26, 2010 at 12:56 am

    People who eat ketchup and people who don't.
    People who like garlic and people who don't.
    People who shower every day and people who don't (my biggest peeve!).
    People who are chronically early and people who are always late.
    People who drive until their tank's on empty and people who don't (my husband and I are wildly different on this one).
    People who eat breakfast and people who don't.

  • Reply Mad Hadder February 26, 2010 at 1:50 am

    People who read the end of a book first; people who put their dogs in cages; people who don't send Christmas cards; people who eat the inside of their Oreos first; people who read in bed; people who wear slacks to funerals; people who name their children after flowers; people who paint their nails; people who slam doors on Mormon missionaries; people who never save money; people who take only tours; people who buy used books, people who only give homemade gifts; people who play boardgames.

  • Reply Kevin and Liz February 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

    That is so totally my story! I had never ever used a toaster oven, and when Kevin wanted to register for one, I was like, "what do you need that for?" His answer: cinnamon toast. You can put the butter and cinnamon on before you toast it. So I said "fine" in a "this is so not fine" kind of way. He just didn't recognize that yet, but in the end, I love my toaster oven. Enough so that when our old one broke, I had to go buy a new one because it is a NECESSITY. I am now one of those people.

  • Reply Life of a Doctor's Wife March 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I found this post through Operation Pink Herring and I LOVE it. Such a fascinating topic.

    My family and my in-laws are just about opposites in every category I can think of, which is really interesting and challenging and sometimes fun to be in the middle of.

    One of the big ones? People who have salt and pepper on their tables and people who don't.

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