There’s a lot to be said for the peaceful serenity of country life far off the beaten path. This is not one of those stories.
This is more about the evils of planned obsolescence and expectations involving the power grid and modern conveniences and how participants in what’s laughingly referred to as the service industry generally tend not to be responsive to requests that hail from even just a few miles out in The Sticks,
This is a story about a major appliance gone awry, to be precise. Although three weeks ago or so, when I’d gone out to the farm to rescue some plants from yet another early spring freeze, it appeared disaster had been averted.
It was a Friday morning and none of us had been to the place in a while, and when I entered the kitchen I noticed the stove and microwave clocks were blinking, telltale signs of a past power outtage. I opened the refrigerator door to stash a couple of things but found no light on inside.
Damn! I thought, now I was going to find a bunch of ruined food. But no, apparently the power outtage had occurred recently. Chickens and racks of ribs remained frozen in the fridge’s freezer. Ice cubes still were ice. Good fortune! Except that the refrigerator wasn’t working.
A quick check of the electrical box showed the circuit breaker had tripped, on the circuit into which the fridge was plugged. I reset the breaker, went back to the kitchen and checked the fridge and found the light was now on when I opened the door, and I could hear the motor running. I went to work bringing plants inside the house before a late winter storm rolled in. Everything went well.
Or so I thought. Fast forward another two weeks, and I’d gone back out to the farm to put the plants back outside, because finally Spring was here and the weather was warming noticeably. I walked into the farmhouse kitchen and thought I’d caught a whiff of something like a dead rat as I passed through the door. But I didn’t see anything, and wasn’t really sure I’d smelled anything either.
Until I opened the refrigerator door. Oh, the motor was humming away, and the light came on. Bright enough that I could easily see all the horribly rotten food, and the putrid meat in the freezer compartment. Believe me when I say without going into detail that insects had somehow discovered and begun inhabiting this goldmine of decomposition. If I were commissioned to create my own version of the Gates of Hell, the damned probably would be made to walk through something very much like what I found in our fridge, dead motor mocking me from the grave with a live lightbulb.
(Did I mention this total failure of a refrigerator was a mere 2 years old? By contrast, I once inherited a Fridgidaire from the early 1950s, and used it to keep food perfectly cold for another 12 years. What the hell has become of the manufacturing sector? Have they no shame, sir?)
I’m going to stop now and not describe the excruciating clean-up process, the removal of the offending appliance, nor the effort required to remove that offense from sight and olfactory gland.
I will say, however, that our country place is used as a weekend getaway and, since we’re gone more than we’re there, we have opted not to pay for monthly garbage collection. Instead, we haul out what garbage we generate. That system has worked fairly well. But when you find your plastic trash bags are filled with rotting meat, you tend to dissuade yourself from the idea of putting said bags in any vehicle that you own or might have to drive.
The only thing I have left to say on the matter is this: I believe I now could dispose of a body if that became necessary.
As for the so-called service industry, nobody wants to come haul off a broken refrigerator full of rotten meat. They don’t even want to haul off a broken fridge without the meat.
And they don’t want to deliver a new replacement appliance either, not into The Sticks, not into the Texas Outback, not anywhere outside SuburbanVille apparently, especially if you don’t have a mailbox. Now I’m pretty sure I know why Daniel Boone was so cranky.