By James Clapham
The first time that I saw a North American style fridge was in Israel. It had been imported into a friend’s apartment and it stuck out from the rest of the kitchen like a baseball cap on a wizened old sage. It was a double door affair that was big, grey and slightly imposing to little old me. The largest that I ever saw was in Europe, where our fridge presided, and I thought that our tall, imposing thing in our kitchen was the bees’ knees. It was thinner and taller than this monstrosity I saw before me, but it was dwarfed by the sheer width, like a steroid-addicted Texan that had eaten too many McDonalds.
Fridges are everything. It’s the place to store butter, cheese, mayonnaise that looks like used motor oil, kale (whatever that is), fruit, veg and, of course, beer. You don’t really think about your fridge until it starts to suffer the equivalent of a stroke and when it does, there is a mass panic on putting random food into your friends’, neighbours’ and your family’s houses. If it dies completely then it’s a Shakespearean tragedy in the making. The sense of relief when you’re able to get it working again because a small child had turned the knob down to ‘OFF’ while you weren’t looking is almost physically tangible. The sense of utter frustration when it starts leaking water everywhere as it slowly gurgles and chokes to death on whatever gases lay within it makes you shake your fist and ask “why!?” to the world in general.
Some people really love their fridge and decorate it with not just random items of places they had been, Christmas greetings from three years ago, shopping lists and random receipts for that thing that broke but you never got around to replacing, but they now do wraps for them too. One work colleague of mine has her French door refrigerator covered as the Tardis from Doctor Who. There’s also people that cover it with chalkboard paint, where Junior can draw all over the bottom section and Mom or Dad can put a ‘Things to Do’ list at the top section.
Our ye olde fridge that came with our house has been making lots of funny noises recently, but it’s too stubborn to die. It wheezes and shudders to a halt when it stops trying to throw CFCs into the atmosphere, and it probably takes up half of our electric bill. For now it’s adorned with a bunch of the kids’ pictures like Grandma’s poster wall, and eventually it’ll be replaced.
Most likely once the beer goes warm.