FOR years, I kicked my fridge door several times a day. It was the only way it would shut properly, and if I forgot, or didn’t kick it at the exact spot, the top of the inside would soon be warningly covered with droplets, like beads of perspiration. I’d thought there was something wrong with the insulation on the door, but a technician told me it was not that, it was that the door itself was slightly misaligned. He advised me not to tamper with it, given the age of the fridge.
In those days, when people were in and out of my house—and the fridge—it seemed practical to post this sign on it: “Kick me! I like it!” It was helpful, but it meant that I regularly had to clean the bottom of the door from all the scuff marks left behind by well-placed blows. It had become such a habit for me that I found myself kicking other people’s fridges when I visited.
I had become very attached to the sturdiness of this appliance; it worked well despite—or perhaps because of—its age, and it didn’t really trouble me. One day, I was cleaning it, and as I wiped the exterior grill at the base, perhaps a bit more vigorously than I should, I heard the sound of something metallic and small dropping to the floor. Before I could even look to see what had fallen, there was an almighty crashing sound, and the entire door fell over, right on me where I was stooping. Fortunately, it was partially braced by the edge of a cupboard.
It was awkward and precarious; trying to hold it from coming right down, while struggling to extricate myself. I eventually managed to raise it and prop it against the cupboard, while I emptied the contents of its shelves. Me being me, I squatted there, studying it until I figured out what had happened. The base grill supported the pins holding it at the top and the bottom. I had inadvertently pushed out one of the clips and braddam, all fall down.
It took a couple of hours, but eventually, I managed to hoist it back into place and secure it. I cannot describe the antics, because the door was as heavy as it was old, and I was thwarted so many times that it all became a blur. I’d thought of calling someone to help, but I didn’t feel comfortable calling anyone in my pandemic paranoia. So, I persevered and finally got it back together well enough that I could continue kicking it.
I knew I should replace it, but there was a little complication. When the kitchen was built, the cupboards had been designed to snugly ensconce the refrigerator. It meant looking for something that could fit into the space, and most of the new models were about two inches too tall.
Then out of the blue, my sister-in-law sent me an old picture from her photo album. It was one of my sister and me. She must have been about 18, and I was probably 23. We reminisced about that period, wistfully reminded of how youthfully radiant we were, until I noticed that the fridge we were lolling back on was the same one. It meant the fridge had been around for more than 30 years! I got even more sentimental.
It had now developed a leak, so that water was running down the interior wall and collecting in a puddle under the crisper drawers. I now had an additional task: sopping it up daily. I kept deferring the inevitable, unwilling to go fridge shopping. I knew it was simply that the drain hose had been clogged, but no service people would waste their time to sort out that problem on such an aged creature, where parts no longer existed and the probability of something else going wrong when they tampered was so high.
I developed another daily ritual that did not even strike me as ridiculous until the water flow got heavier, and was now dripping from other places. About a week ago, it came to a head when I opened it in the morning and found the crisper drawer flooded, all my vegetables floating in a drab puddle. I called Parts World, and explained my situation—about the need for one to fit into the space—and they went through their inventory and found they had only one of the required dimensions on display in their St James showroom. I saw it on their online site and paid for it, and the removal of my beloved. Just like that, without leaving the house, the whole thing was resolved. On Tuesday, they delivered it, carted off the old workhorse, and I felt nothing but relief and pleasure at the new model.
I thought I would share this rather mundane story because it occurred to me that I had been clinging on to something that had gone past its utility simply because I was dreading the process it would take to get a replacement—and mostly because I was hanging on to its connection with the past. The fear of change.
The day before they came, as I emptied it and unplugged it, I said farewell, thanked it, and gave it a loving kick. And that was the end of that.
—The author is an editor,
writer and cricket historian.