Fridge & Freezer Deaths

It can happen. A point made more palpable when fridge thermometers suddenly record numbers like 10 C for fridges and 0-5 for freezers. Suddenly the recent, mysterious sounds from a kitchen or basement begin to make more sense. In my case, a 13 year-old fridge and a 42 (!) year-old freezer. At the same time no less. (A sign?)

And so the scramble to buy a new fridge with a 1-2 week delivery date. “Guess you’ll be eating out”, said one salesman. Fortunately, my deceased parents came to the rescue with an inherited olde-icebox-looking mini-fridge to store whatever milk and juice. But there’s still a lot of food that bites the dust from the fridge’s freezer and the hassle of unplugging the declining machine–removing the visual treasure trove of photos, grandson artwork, and sacred trip mementoes from its exterior. The removal of memories like some Alzheimer’s patient on his way out and cleaning up a behind-fridge dust-bunnies estate.

My parents also–perhaps, if it still works–come to the rescue re. the downstairs freezer leaking its last down the small basement sewer pipe. Their freezer has waited 7 years in the same area to be reactivated when the first large appliance (1972) bit the biscuit. “The readiness is all.”

I removed the one large boomerang of ice that formed near the top of the dying machine and fumbled it into an undersized bucket to cast outside into the night. The slippery white signature of dead technology.

Well, there you have it. What Arthur Miller so eloquently bemoaned and criticized in Death of a Salesman–the inevitable planned obsolescence, the end of all things, the limits of technology and other various life forms. The need, finally, to replace when one can no longer say “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” The end of process and the beginnings of new life, and brave new machines. The disruption, messiness and inevitability of death. Ends and beginnings. The principal markers of process per se. When fridges and freezers die.


postscript/ Arising from under the ribs of death, the 42-year-old basement freezer was defrosted and reactivated and is now running quietly at a safe temp. It is my folks’ freezer which has remained dormant, as in deceased, after a long move (from Wpg.) and 7 years waiting.

It just shows you never know or can be sure, especially when you think someone or something is counted out. The topsy-turvy Macbeth-type theme for sure. Also to be found in Robert Altman’s excellent Short Cuts, when at a hospital, a kid who seemed to be doing ok after an accident suddenly dies while another kid who seemed so close to death miraculously recovers.

Call it Life and Its Mysteries and Ironies. Or, in the case of the freezer and so many people’s lives–Live to Work (or Serve) Another Day.

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