My Refrigerator and the Parallel Universe

By: Celeste Lindell

My coffee creamer had somehow re-located itself to the back of my refrigerator.  As I removed the soy milk, the orange juice, the tomato juice, and the ten other items that stood in front of my beloved creamer, I realized it was time to clean out this old monstrosity once again.  I do not understand how this appliance gets so crowded with stuff. We are only three people in this house, and I do try to empty it out regularly… well, occasionally…okay, twice a year…maybe, less.  I don’t know. I don’t keep track.

So, I am not sure what came over me, but after I found my creamer, I decided it was time to do the refrigerator purge right then and there. I started with the top shelf and worked my way down.  Refrigerators are amazing. They are the black hole of appliances. There is a whole Twilight Zone thing going on inside that beast! I can put a container or jar on a shelf and then it disappears. My theory on this is that it gets sucked into some kind of parallel refrigerator universe. That jar or container is not seen again for months until it is spit out of the alternate universe and left for dead in the very back corner of the middle shelf where no eyes ever dare to look.

I have to say that the alternate refrigerator universe was busy this time around.  As I reached my hands into my old appliance, I came across several of those disposable leftover containers.  I lifted the cover on one which sent my gag reflex into overdrive, and I had to head over to the sink until dry heaves passed.  After I composed my stomach, I took the other three disposable containers and chucked them in the trash. Then, I found an open can of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting.

“Ooh, I remember this,” I said aloud.  “This isn’t that old.  A few months tops.”  I opted to keep the frosting because to me it is sacred food, and I remembered when I purchased this can. I wasn’t baking – God, no!  No, I got this one during an emotional PMS episode when I was simultaneously experiencing a “my writing career is in the toilet” syndrome.  When I get hit with a double whammy like that, I seek comfort in my two best friends: Betty Crocker and the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

I can eat an entire can of frosting without blinking an eye, so the mystery in this case is not when I bought the frosting, but how is it that some frosting remained?  Frankly, I was happy to see the frosting, so I made a cozy place for it in the fridge. Instead, I threw out condiments, pickles, olives, salad dressings, wasabi sauce and a tub of fat free cream cheese that I found in one of the secret bins on the fridge door. I opened one leftover – or what I assumed to be a leftover wrapped in aluminum foil and had to dry heave again, so I decided it was best to throw out anything else wrapped in foil as well.

After I was done with the purge, I wiped down all the shelves with anti-bacterial cleaner and stuck a new box of baking soda on a shelf to keep my fridge from developing foul odors.  Maybe, I shouldn’t put in the baking soda. Maybe it does too good a job. Maybe, if some of the smells actually hit my nostrils, I would clean out this old beast sooner.

I love when my fridge is clean and sparkly.  Every time I go into the kitchen, I open the door just to see how shiny it looks.  Of course, my family opens the door and says, “We have no food. We need food.”  I will buy food for it, but for just a day or two, I like to see that monstrosity neat and clean. Once I buy food, the parallel refrigerator universe will once again rear its ugly head and claim my food as its own, and the cycle of refrigerator purging will have to begin again.

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