Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Catch of the Day Lurked Behind the Refrigerator

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Catch of the Day Lurked Behind the Refrigerator

Article excerpt

Every home has an area that's ignored, a place you never think about until some event brings it to your attention. For me, that area was the space behind our refrigerator. When a precious homegrown orange, the last of the season, rolled across the fridge top and fell into the five-inch gap between the back of the appliance and the wall, I became suddenly acquainted with that area. It shows that one can live in a home for years and years and still find new frontiers.

I won't dwell on who caused the orange to fall by toppling a fruit basket. In our society there are protections against self- incrimination. Suffice it to say, I found myself holding a flashlight, my stomach pressed against the counter, my neck and shoulders twisted, trying to see a glint of orange in the unfamiliar chasm.

The harder I tried to see, the more I molded myself into a shape uncommon for human beings, a shape that twisted and curled unpredictably like a Chinese noodle. Yoga books that include the Bow Posture and the Cobra Posture do not include a Chinese Noodle Posture, but if they did, the authors would describe it as a strenuous position to be attempted only at times of monumental necessity - such as when the last orange of the season drops behind the refrigerator.

My reconnaissance complete, I straightened up and set down my flashlight. I resolved to pull the refrigerator forward until it was out of its niche, allowing me access to the orange. For 45 strenuous, red-faced seconds I tugged and pulled, but with no result. The utter lack of movement convinced me that the appliance had grown roots that extended hundreds of feet into the ground.

I recalled that, when moving into our home, I'd reached this conclusion: There are two objects that you do not try to move, the piano and the refrigerator. You build around these objects.

Of course, the supervisors of this world, while asking you to move their anvils a little more to the left, develop their own theories. For instance, I was told that the little rollers under the piano indicated mobility. "If I attach training wheels to the Rock of Gibraltar, does that make it portable?" I replied. "Those piano rollers are just for show. They are like the painted-on control panel of an amusement park ride. Not functional."

Having discarded the idea of moving the fridge, I grabbed a pair of salad tongs. I sat on the counter and extended my left arm into the gap, feeling around with the tongs. The experience evoked memories of those carnival booths in which you work a grabbing device, attempting to lift a prized object from a table. Usually something that you don't want adheres tenaciously to the grabber while the gold watch that you do want acts as if it's welded in place.

My salad tongs did not grab the orange; nor did they pull up the ever-elusive gold watch. …

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