Why My Sexy New Fridge Makes Me Nervous

Fridge stalagmite-Ice spike
Image via Wikipedia

I’m not generally scared of major household appliances. But we bought a fancy new fridge last week and, as it sits in all its stainless steel, bottom freezer, silent glory, it’s forced me to think quite hard about what it means.

We kept the old fridge — a battered thing from 1989 — because it worked fine. Then it started freezing food on the top shelf. I work too damn hard to earn the money to buy the food to throw it out uneaten. Time for a new fridge.

Luckily, only one fit the space. I hate shopping and all those endless choices. Exhausting!

It is deeply luxurious. (It’s not one of the $5,000 Sub-Zeros). It is new. It cost more than our mortgage payment.

It makes me feel rich. I am not sure I want to feel rich.

How un-American is that? Here’s why the fridge — as a symbol of affluence and ease and comfort — makes me nervous. Many people take those things deeply for granted, while others are losing their jobs and homes and living in their cars.

The issue at hand? I don’t ever want to be the person who simply takes beauty and ease and luxury as my due, as something I deserve.

Life so often dishes out things none of us “deserve” — terrible accidents or terminal illness or serial job loss. Sometimes all of these. So what happens when you’re fortunate or lucky enough to be able to afford such luxury? Do we deserve it any more than we deserve our terrible misfortunes?

I love the new fridge and will enjoy it, I hope, for years.

Like the humming black monolith in “2001”, one of my favorite films ever, though, this new item in our home has had an unsettling and unexpected effect on both me and the sweetie. It makes me, like the film’s apes, want to throw a bone into the air when I see it.

It elicits some primal, little-felt feelings in me.

And I thought I was just buying a new appliance…

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What I Found Behind The Fridge

The Lovely Fridge
Image by shrff via Flickr

Because that’s how I live….a handwritten note from the year 2000 from Jean Harris, legendary for shooting and killing her lover, the famed inventor of the Scarsdale Diet. I had written to her asking her for an interview for my book about women and guns.

She wrote me back, hand-written in blue ink on her personal stationery, to say she would not participate: “Since leaving prison, [prisoners’] children are the center of my concern — the future, not the past. The future can still be touched, maybe even changed. The past is over.”

I hadn’t moved the fridge since I moved in 20-something years ago. A new one moves into its spot tomorrow after the carpenters cut the counter and cupboards to fit it.

We bought a sexy new fridge this week, a Fisher & Paykel — which I will also enjoy using because I wrote about that company when I was in Auckland in 1998 writing a feature about the value of sponsoring major yacht races, as they did for the Volvo round the world race, (then called the Whitbread.)

This is likely my penultimate T/S post. I am hating this week, frankly. I hate endings and goodbyes. I’ve been on the phone and FB and email with some of my T/S pals, Claudia Deutsch and Nancy Miller and Fran Johns and Jeff McMahon, even Paul Smalera, who left in March when he got a great online editing job. I hope to be working with him soon as a freelancer.

I will miss this community’s easy camaraderie, for all the “independent” journalist party line. Independence gets lonely.

I’ll post tomorrow night where this blog is migrating.