The fridge packed it in over the weekend. At first it was a vague awareness that things seemed a bit warm, maybe the door had been left open. But by morning there was no doubt, it was warmer inside than out.
You think so little about fridges until they go wrong. They’re so solid and reliable. Sitting squatly, chilling. The hum in the night as the cycle keeps it rhythm, the accompaniment of insomnia. The opening window to contemplation of undiagnosed wants and needs. The treasure chest of good things, new things, temptations and treats. Boxy, white and always there.
But when they go, it’s a sudden surge of action and prioritisation. The rapid decanting of the soon to putrefy food stuffs, the ringing around to find additional cool stores at friends, relatives and neighbours, the investigation of the gloop that has accumulated in the nooks and crannies of the shelving, the butter compartment, and that have dropped to the bottom of the freezer and are now unidentifiable.
The man will come soon, so like whipping around the vacuum before guests, swiping on some lipstick, I’ve busied myself cleaning every shelf, every surface. It’s the most sparkling under-performing white-good around. Though perhaps it’s all futile. I suspect we will soon say our farewells. But now that that’s done and I await the my fridge’s fate, I can’t help thinking fondly back on our lives together.
My fridge was my first major household purchase. Nothing seemed to say ‘grown-up’ quite as much as spending hard earned dollars on white goods. Ah, the memories, the trip into Harvey Norman, considering the volumes, prices and efficiencies and fending off the salesman. Signing that hire purchase agreement.
My Fisher & Paykel took pride of place in the kitchen of the first flat that my now husband and I moved into together, our cute little second floor apartment with Harbour Bridge glimpses.
I loved that fridge, with it’s upside-down-freezerness, it’s white shiny exterior and inner gleam. Bought in the pre-christmas heat after a week of sour milk I was all the more appreciative of the invention and proliferation of home appliances. I positively cheered it’s ice making capacity.
My fridge has loyally followed us through numerous houses since. Up stairs and down. It waited patiently in storage when we had no place to put it. It survived the rough treatment of a band of pirate furniture removalists who scraped and dented it, and forever after set it to a slight incline that required propping.
It’s chilled Christmas hams and curry pastes, breast milk, bottles, purees, custards, cakes and leftovers, medicines and I suspect its held the same container of miso paste for some years now. I’ve let it be dribbled on with knocked over jams and tipped over bloody mince. The twin vegetable compartments have been soiled, grimed and survived. It’s been part of every family occasion in it’s own semi-silent way.
We’ve been together ten years, now. It’s been showing it’s age for some time. The bottom has been filling with ice rendering the fruit and veg compartment useless for that purpose. The ice grows glacial, creeping to the edge until the door hardly seals. The ice has to be hacked at, sometimes lifting as a single two foot wide piece. Almost every shelf has cracked. The fridge door regularly won’t shut properly, the seals splitting. External plastic bits drop off, like falling rocks on a cliff face..
And I’ve been disloyal. I’ve muttered at its small size, less suitable to a family than to a couple. I’ve shoved things in, forced doors open, shut, in and out. I’ve contemplated it’s replacement before now.
After all it’s all I could expect. Ten years is good in fridge-years these days. I’m sure under the powerful florescence, the hyperbolic musak, the chatter of the store I will look upon the crisp clean and new styles, the featured and glowing with enthusiasm and imagine a new life with an appliances. For the fridge is part of the lifestyle dream, the holder of so much more than food.
Alas my poor fridge. Now so still and quiet. Time to take down the magnets, pull off the notices, the drawings, the take-away menus, the last fond farewell.