The BOO ( Beloved Only Offspring ) is returning today for the weekend clutching a newly acquired MA in Creative Writing and a serious question. When I started this blog I pointed out that I thought I should write as if my parents could read it as this would ensure I might use a modicum of discretion. An E mail from the BOO has been received saying ‘Why didn’t I know that you hugged the fridge?’ I have revealed to the anonymous masses of cyberspace that I hug the fridge but do I mind if the BOO knows? Should I write instead in the knowledge that the BOO is reading it assiduously. I do feel that I have come out of the closet to my family as an embracer of the upright combination fridge-freezer. There is, of course, no law that precludes a relationship between a consenting adult and white goods, but there may still be some residual prejudice about it.
A few months ago I was forced to replace my twenty-three year old fridge; it had started to hum in a disgruntled manner. If I was a musician I might venture a description involving pitch however I am incapable of holding a tune. What I feel I am quite good at is noting a change in tone. Poems can do it, that sudden twist that leads you into another emotional area. The sonnet can let you do that within its formal structure. You think the poem is about that but ha-ha up the sleeve of my last few lines I have a turn and it’s actually about this. My old fridge had definitely turned, its tone had changed from humming in a coping manner, to a dark and peevish drone with frequent 3am house shuddering clanks. It was in its death throws, it had become slightly incontinent when it sneezed at night. Its temperature had become erratic, icy cold or feverishly warm. It gave off odd odours from its environmentally unfriendly innards.
It had to be put out of its misery. I had to pay some men to dispose of it in a manner that did not increase global warming and would allowed it to enter white goods Valhalla, safe in the knowledge that it was not personally responsible for the polar ice caps juddering and melting into oblivion like itself. I did hug it goodbye, I cried as I removed all the fridge magnets and felt as if I was ripping the epaulets from the shoulders of an upright and innocent old soldier. We had been through a lot together; it had allowed BOO to thrust her head into its stuffed and groaning interiors and declare that there was nothing to eat. It had stood firm as visitors and drunken teenagers had buried its surfaces under bad fridge magnet poetry. We had shared private moments of joy when I had received particularly good news.
The new fridge, I have to say does not quite feel the same. I am still in that stage where I have the old template of what a fridge hug feels like. Kinaesthetic memory will gradually fade I am sure and a fridge by another name will smell as sweet; once a bit of mouldy cheddar has been stuck at the back for a few months and an old lemon in the salad drawer takes on the look and texture of a fur ball the cat might cough up.