The Story of the Family Fridge

The simplest things can trigger memories and stories. Our refrigerator blew up yesterday. It has sat in our kitchen for the past 18 years. So of course on one level it is just an inanimate object. But it is an appliance from a bygone era having lasted that long. I don’t think there is much else in this house that is that old. Most items die or become obsolete in a very short space of time.
But it is more the social function of the fridge that was interesting. It has a colourful collection of fridge magnets accumulated over many years. Invites to weddings, funerals, birthdays. Children’s art, teenager art, graffitti art, tags, shakepearean fridge magnet words, poems and one liners dreamed up by many friends and family as they doodled with words during conversations.
The Fridge has groaned with food and drinks year in year out. It has been raided at all hours of the day and night. What hastened its demise I think, was the fact that the back of the fridge had become a home to a family of mice. Pulling the fridge out from the wall, a very obvious little hole in the floor showed the route for may be more than one family of mice.
We bought this fridge 25 years ago, when living in a community surviving on welfare. It was a huge purchase, Jane bought it on Hire Purchase from the now long gone Farmers Trading Department store in downtown Auckland.
This appliance sure had a great patina. But despite the death of the fridge, and the memories and stories it evokes, I wont miss it at all. It’s seals had perished long ago, it leaked, iced up, and I think chewed far too much power. There is a gleaming white new model in its place now. It makes ice, has lots of useful compartments, and so far, no fridge magnets. The manual says you can’t put anything on the top. So the collection of Stuff that used to inhabit the top of the fridge, has gone.
RIP old fridge, and welcome you gleaming new beauty (o00pps my appliance fetish is raising its head!) I do wonder though if this new one will be here in 25 years time…..

Why We Love Nasty Stories

We are often likes moths round a flame when it comes to stories of conflict and adversity. It is like we are hard wired to be attracted to disaster. I know I want to hear about tragedies, and as much as I get annoyed with a news media focus on conflict, I still tune in. And the other thing is, no matter how reasonable I try to be, I take sides. There will be a good guy and a bad guy.
I believe we have been hard wired to desire conflict in the stories we tell and listen to as part of our survival mechanism. Unconsciously almost, we use a bit of fear to raise our children, if you do this or that, something bad will happen. In ancient times, we learnt to survive through fear. That rustle in the bush might be a predator or it might be the wind. Our myths and legends all have a fear factor. Many children’s stories can be downright scary.
I think we extend this fear factor in stories to decide who we like and dislike in the world. We write people off. So and so is hopeless. Can’t stand them. That guy I talked to at a call centre was just a complete a******.
I believe it is time to play a bigger game with the stories we tell about people. Sure the best stories are a journey through good and bad times, good and bad behaviours. But to have the world be a better place, these stories we tell about each other have to be underpinned with love. Who are we for one another in the stories we tell ? How often do we write people off? I know I do it and I see it as my job on this planet to raise the ante, and catch myself as often as I can and take a closer look when I tell a story, even to myself about how bad someone is.