Applied (appliance?) wisdom

I had to have my refrigerator worked on the other day. Its temperature fluctuations were noticeable enough that I went out and bought a special refrigerator thermometer to take its temperature — sure enough, even with the temperature gauge cranked to “Brrrr,” it was only barely inside the safe zone (below 40 degrees). On a good day.

Seemingly unrelated tangent: A few years ago it hit me that being a writer means I get to ask people lots of nosey questions — and then have them answered, and sometimes those people even thank me for asking nosey, personal questions. I am the poster child for curiosity and, if I’m going to be brutally honest, an ample helping of nosiness too — so that particular job description fits me to a “T.”

Now here’s the glue that holds those two paragraphs together: The appliance repairman who came over to fix my refrigerator turned out to be the amiable, intelligent sort, happy to chat as he worked. And as he was pulling all the food out of the fridge so that he could get at the guts of the fridge itself, he exclaimed “You really are a health nut!” Apparently it’s pretty unusual to pull actual fruits and vegetables out of a refrigerator nowadays — kind of understandable, given the high prices and so-so quality of produce we endure every winter.

It turns out that while I’m running around interviewing people and asking personal questions, a good appliance repairman is up to his armpits in the content of their refrigerators. And it kind of makes me think I’m wasting my effort with all the running and the interviewing and the note-taking — because if you want to know what a person’s life is really like, you should probably just sneak a peak inside their fridge.

Photo: “fridge surprise” from Nestor Lacle on Flickr. Used under the CC 2.0 license.


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