About two years ago I moved into my current apartment. It was less a move of choice and more a move of force. I loved the apartment I had before this one: decent sized bedroom, two closets, exposed brick, and, best of all, it was three blocks from the subway, which, to a suburbanite, is the equivalent of having a loving companion who never gets bored with you. OK, so that’s not exactly an “equivalent,” but Lord it was the happiest time in my life. Indeed, my current apartment is two avenues over and one block up from the nearest subway, and one morning not so long ago I made it to the subway station only to realize that I had forgotten my wallet, leading me to immediately think, “I would trade a kick in the nuts for my wallet right now. I honestly would.”
But then the owners of my building decided to turn it into a co-op, meaning they would offer me my apartment at the steep discount of $320,000. I had about $300 in the bank at the time, so I did what any self-respecting man would do and turned them down, packed up my things, urinated in the bathtub and left for my new home, which, to be honest, is a something of a gem itself considering the Manhattan housing market. Throw some paint on the walls, take down that ugly protective grate over the window leading to the easily-accessible-from-the-outside fire escape, rewire some of the outlets in a possibly dangerous but more convenient manner and the place really came together. Except for one thing – the refrigerator.
The apartment came with one of those refrigerators that doesn’t have a real freezer. I mean, it has a freezer, but the freezer is inside the refrigerator. And it is what they cleverly refer to as a “manual defrost” model – manual meaning “by hand” and defrost meaning “scrape a thick layer of ice out of your freezer every few months.” Not exactly the height of modernity. (What got me was that it was brand new! Meaning that someone is still selling these technological rejects, convinced there is a market for people who want to be actively involved in their refrigerators’ lives.)
Now I’m not a prima donna who needs to have everything his way, but actually I’m lying and yes, I am. Especially when it comes to any vessel that holds my food. And a freezer that maxes out its capacity with one box of Eggos, two ice trays and a pint of ice cream is, frankly, an insult to anyone who enjoys eating. Clearly something needed to be done. My mother must have known this, seeing as how we would have phone conversations that went like this:
Mom: “Hey, it’s me. How are you?”
Me: “I hate my refrigerator.”
Because then, on my birthday, I was presented with a gift – a new refrigerator, one with a distinct and separate freezer. I was overjoyed, not even remotely distraught over the fact that I was 25 years old and excited to get a refrigerator. It was delivered a few weeks later and my life was changed for the better instantly. It was like making a new friend, only instead of talking to you and watching movies with you he kept your food cold. I loved him.
Until he betrayed me.
Which brings us right up to this post. I’ll give you a second to read it because none of this is going to make sense if you don’t. Seriously, I’m going to stop typing now because you need to read that, even if you hate clicking on links in posts. And don’t even think about just abandoning this halfway through – it’s one frigging link, you can read it. I know you can.
. . . . .
Rereading that post myself, I am renewed with the anger of my refrigerator’s treason. What happened after that, in short, is a six month long, absurdly complicated returns process including three visits by a refrigerator repair guy (who informed me that this fancy “automatic defrost” model wasn’t, in fact, defrosting), two letters to the maker of the refrigerator, two trips to The Girlfriend’s apartment with refrigeration-required items in tow in an attempt to save them (a full jar of mayonnaise, oh the humanity . . .) all culminating in a conversation I had with the guy from whom my mother originally bought the unit wherein he basically says, “OK, we’ll credit your with a refund. But we need to come and pick up the refrigerator.”
Meaning that if I wanted any semblance of a cooling box in my apartment I would have to retrieve the manual defrost model I had banished to my building’s basement. Meaning that, a year and a half later, I am again incapable of storing normal amounts of frozen foods. Meaning that it is perhaps time, once again, for the Annual Appliance Rating. Thus I bring you . . .
The Second Annual Appliance Rating
Oven: I’m using the same picture I used of you last time because you are really really dirty right now and, quite frankly, an embarrassment. But that’s no fault of yours – I’ve come to understand that “self-cleaning” doesn’t exactly mean self-cleaning. So I’ll work on that. Then there was that time you were leaking gas from one of your burners and it smelled like rotten eggs and me, not knowing where the smell was coming from, light a candle in the kitchen to mask the odor. Again, probably my fault (also not my best moment). Bottom line is, when I need something cooked, you cook it.
Toilet: No clogs since last review. There seems to be some sort of screw coming loose at your base, but the last time I sat down I wiggled a little and nothing seemed to move, so I guess it’s OK.
Trash bin: This pains me, it really does. But you’re falling apart. You stink all the time, you’ve got rust patches forming and your lid doesn’t even open anymore when I step on the pedal. I suppose, as with all great machines, I couldn’t expect you to perform forever. Just know that I appreciate how you’ve held yourself together, and raged against the dying of the light.
Fan: I’m still a big fan [of that joke]. (P.S. great pose.)
Sink: You have withstood the test of time and proven to be one of the best purchases I have ever made. If we were all characters on “Big Love” and I was Bill Paxton, you would be my first wife, the one who, after all these years, I can still rely on and, moreover, am still sexually attracted to.
New (old) refrigerator: I don’t know what to say. It’s like when you break up with a girl and go on convincing yourself that your new girlfriend is awesome because she wears lingerie, but then you find out your new girlfriend pronounces it “expecially” and suddenly you feel guilty for taking your old girlfriend for granted. Maybe in my younger years I wanted it all. But I’ve matured – I know now the value of dependability and reliability and I think we can make this work.
(Sidenote: Little does Refrigerator know, the only reason I can put up with its incapacity for capacity is because I am moving out of my current apartment at the end of this month. Oh don’t worry, you’ll hear much, much more on the topic. Things like “Moving is worse than being shot in the face” and “Pills, goddamnit, I need pills! Would someone just please get me some pills.” Stay tuned.)