Cold Coils and Light in a Box

5 July 2014

We need our appliances. They become our dearest friends…like refrigerators. With them we don’t have to buy and cook just the ingredients for each meal. We open the door and store our perishables…in a fridge. And if the fridge suddenly stops working…and it’s days before a new one can be delivered…we have to plan to buy food for a meal at a time and use up all the ingredients or throw out the leftovers. And since food is sold in multi-meal containers, we either throw out a lot or eat out a lot…or bring in take-out. And suddenly we realize how fragile is our hold on a modern life. Not a whimper here for the old days, when we farmed and fattened and slaughtered, then cooked and ate. It’s Styrofoam and stretch wrap and Freon for me.

Same thing when we turn on the car’s ignition (another friend) and nothing happens…on a work day. What now? Call AAA or a local mechanic for a tow and hope for a fix on the same day. And what about work…take a bus? Not to sound elitist, but who knows about bus schedules, when you drive a car. A train? Only if you work in a city with commuter rail. But back to the immediate problem.

I went to a nearby big-box appliance store, as soon as I saw milk solids coagulating and rising to the top of the bottle. You’d be surprised how quickly, when it’s no longer pumping cold air…hours, not days. That was Thursday (with a holiday on Friday and then the weekend ). Delivery day was  the next Tuesday. Not too shabby speed-wise. Only five days without a fridge, 10 meals (I can skip lunch). So I won’t cook with leftovers…each meal, same work, with or without leftovers. I remember ice boxes, giant blocks of ice lugged by burly men with giant tongs and cloth pads on their shoulders…for comfort. The irony, men with ice on their shoulders, sweating like steel workers. The ice worked, until it melted, about five days. But ice boxes are hard to find…and burly men with large tongs, even harder.

So I get a warm hello at the local diner, when I show up for breakfast…an indifferent hello, ordering take out…and an effusive hello at Trader Joe’s, buying prepared, single-serve meals. I can take warm, effusive and indifferent over the short run. After all, I don’t demand a kind word from myself, when I make a meal. Even better the delivery service changed the delivery to Monday. So I’m down to eight fridgeless meals and four I’ve already dealt with.