My wife likes to tell anybody with whom she’s passably friendly the story of when she knew I was the one for her. We had a place together, but that was still a novel concept; still discovering one another’s quirks and ticks and interpretations of personal space.
She couldn’t sleep one night, so she came out into the kitchen to find me there, on the floor, in front of the opened refrigerator, in my underwear, shoving gummy bears in my face. As they say in Princess Bride, it was twooo wuv.
Not where you thought that story was going, I bet. Me either, frankly. One woman’s image of slovenry is another’s picture of husbandry. Different strokes.
I have this thing about refrigerators. Namely, I like to see what’s inside them, study the contents, assess. I’ve always been that way. My mom will tell you the first thing I do when I come home is open the fridge. Not raid the fridge, certainly not clean the fridge; merely look in the fridge. Just see what’s going on in there. I used to do the same at my grandparents. My brother’s is also fair game. It gets weirder the more unfamilial the fridge becomes, but it certainly doesn’t stop me. The excuses just get more desperate.
“I have to take this medication with margarine. No no, I’ll get it, you sit still.”
You’ll note in the above tale that I was eating gummy bears. Generally not a refrigerated item. So you can see that I was merely looking in the fridge while eating the gummy bears. Just hanging out, having a good time. Some people watch Scrubs, I look in fridges. What’s weird about that?
It should come as no surprise then that Bub is, shall we say, enchanted by our Fridgidaire. He can’t open it yet, which breaks my heart a little. Sometimes he’ll sit there, trying to arrange the magnets into the proper Da Vinci Code order that will spring the door ajar. Sometimes he just stares it down, Jedi-style. Open for me, you will. But it won’t, Bub.
So everytime we open the fridge now, he comes a-scootin,’ big smile in tow. Believe me, I understand. It’s like recess in there. While I try and work an ancillary vocabulary lesson into fridge time, I get that it’s much less about the items therein, and much more about the overall experience. The Zen of the fridge. There is no fridge, Bub. Only your unconsience mind, to which you just opened the door. Well, that and five different mostly-empty mustard containers.
So of all the things I hope to impart to my son—wisdom, kindness, integrity—fridge-spying is not a bad place to start. Builds character, takes discipline, patience. Pants are optional. Right now we’re working on proper form. And someday, who knows? If he sticks with it, trains hard, maybe, just maybe, the girl of his dreams will find Bub on the cold linoleum, middle of the night, zoning out to the cool hum of a Maytag. And somewhere hopefully not too far away, a proud father will smile.