Mothers are Refrigerators

Waxing rhapsodic about motherhood is not something I’m ever likely to do, at least until I’m a waning old woman who’s losing herself.

Then again, waxing in general is not something I ever do – to cars, floors, or legs.  Tried waxing various furry parts of me once, and it felt indeed like motherhood – all warm and enveloping at first, and then searing with pain.  Never again.

I love my sons intensely, mind you.  It’s just that I find myself looking at them at times as though they were unrecognizable green fuzzy things from the dark nether regions of the refrigerator.  Where on earth did they come from?  What on earth are they?  What on earth am I to do with them? How on earth did those sweet little boys turn into large hairy creatures who pat me on the head with fond abstraction as though I were some crescent-backed old woman who’s lost herself?

I’ve long felt that mothers are refrigerators.

Perhaps my obsession with this refrigerator theory is what made one materialize in my office space – that Law of Universal Attraction.  Instead of visualizing wealth and success and abundance, I focused on refrigerators, and — voila! — one manifested itself four feet from my desk.

Refrigerators are large faceless featureless appliances that dispense whatever you need whenever you need it, without cost or complaint.  They are utterly reliable and easily taken for granted.  They are always there, ready to serve you.  They ask for nothing in return.  They sit quietly and patiently, waiting to meet your every need.  They take care of your things.  They have your best interests at heart.  They don’t even get frosty with you.  They endure (yes, I’ve been reading Faulkner again).

Isn’t that, by definition, a mother?

I have built a mother of a wall between my desk and the refrigerator at work.  I was told that there were no partitions available anywhere in the building.  The handsome young custodian even invited me down into the bowels of the building to see for myself.  I forgot myself for a moment, and wondered if he just wanted to reach for me down there in the dark.  But I’m a refrigerator, safely beyond harm’s reach.

So I pushed a Frigidaire-sized filing cabinet into my corner.  I then wedged an extra desk beside it.  I piled six big white empty boxes on the desk like bricks.  Covered them with college pennants, which I already have hanging all over my workspace. I piled books atop the boxes, and then stole fake plants from all over the department to drape over the top.  The only thing vaguely natural about those decaying old fake plants is that they’re actually shedding leaves.

So I’m now in a tall green jungle full of bright flags, which beats a fishbowl.  My jungle does sound a lot like a refrigerator; I choose to listen for macaws instead.

But the refrigerator won; I am still in its thrall.  Yesterday morning, I was asked to send out an email reminding everyone to clean it out before spring break.

So I did.

Dear Department,

The refrigerator stinks again —  I smell it every time it’s opened, despite my stuffed-up head and my nice new wall.  The stench lingers in the air, and students wonder if I’ve not bathed lately.

Would y’all please take a look and dump anything bad?  Spring break is upon us.  We should not leave leftovers in there to be fruitful and multiply.

I must also remind you that Stealing Food is Bad.

Our hungry hard-working secretary just went to the freezer to get a burrito she’d put in there awhile ago.  She’d actually tucked away several – and they have all disappeared.  She has no lunch.

I will start making you sign out for items you take from the refrigerator.  Be warned.


Your Mother, the Food Monitor

Sadly, I am indeed old enough to be mother to most of them.  That’s why they depend upon me for such things.   I’m their refrigerator, too.