Not Spotless

It is a huge, ugly, almost luminescent-ly cold white thing.

The family refrigerator is not spotless, far from it. It's not even particularly clean, but still, on the outside, it is not cluttered. It is a huge, ugly, cold white thing. It has a texture, some odd pattern of indented lines. It matches the rest of the kitchen appliances, which are the same: Ugly, almost luminescent white, functional, dirty with bits of yellow or brown or gold that were, once, food, covered with a thin layer of the unpleasant sticky dirty substance that comes from the dropped bits of food, liquid, the steam and the smoke. The rest of our house is not like that. It isn't 'squeaky clean,' not by a long shot, but it has that nice, airy, slightly weathered feel to it. We don't put just anything on the walls or fridge. The only pictures in the living room are drawn my my mom or me (by far the best artists in the family, if I do write so myself) in neat black-and-white, insects and samurai and mythical animals. Everything is neat, framed, and hung carefully for aesthetic perfection that is ruined my the knickknacks, the random bits of paper with a drawing, a calculation, a poem, scratch paper, the shoes, jackets, judo belts — 'obi's, we pretentiously call them, the more languages the better, you see — falling out of sports bags, tissue boxes, papers, microscope boxes, near-perfect targets, and books and lots of them all lying around, pushed towards the edge so there is a glorious sunlit expanse in the middle across which I cartwheel — I digress. The fridge is similar, in a sense: A few, relatively to its size, items pushed towards the edge to leave a clean space. On the other hand, the cleaned out space is anything but glorious and sunlit, a boring texture under dirt which is covering a color that doesn't look good spotless, far less dirty. There are a few magnets, plain dark grey, dull and shiny, more beautiful to my eyes than if my little brother's awful drawings were pinned up there, a pencil stuck on to a large (3*3*.333 inch) magnet by a metal bit, some paperclips and some safety pins, half of a mini clay parrot with a magnet sticking on a 3*5" simplistic drawing of a faceless man toasting work ethic, which I drew after cleaning the kitchen a few months ago, and is the only drawing of the fridge.

Inside is another matter. It is full, to the point where you have to carefully place things just so they don’t fall out, yet there is often a problem that we ‘can’t find anything to eat'. Everything is in little packages: In the door, the largest ones, a gallon or three of milk, usually non-fat, whipping cream and butter milk and kefir, in quarts of half-quarts, countless bottles of sauces that mom or grandma bought to try and no-one liked enough to use more than once, but no-one threw out because of an intrinsic aversion to waste, and because we might need it at some point. Higher up start the cheeses. They are many, and different. Goat cheese for spreading on bagels and crackers and bread, parmesan rinds, blue cheese, brie, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, romano, asiago, cheddar, a soft off-white cheese with a streak of mould through the middle. Randomly placed wherever they won’t fall out are little jars of maraschino cherries, coconut butter, apricot jam. Inside are more ‘substantial’ things like eggs, vegetables, and mushrooms, along with a large bowl of home-made jam, mayo and ricotta and beef-bacon and olives and jars of egg whites the yolks of which we ate for breakfast.

There is also the matter of other fridges. In my first sleep-away summer camp, we stayed in the dorms of some college. The rows of identical rooms all had mini-fridges. Little was kept there, since we ate in the cafeteria, but I will always remember the girl who tried to make tomato-sauce popsicles and accidentally left the key to her (luckily unlocked) room in the


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