There it is. It is the blight of mankind. And there! Right there! It sits taunting me; the pickle. It is an ineffectual dilled vessel in a jar which lies in wait for each cleaning. A single, three inch, green log, floats in a bucket of brine wash. Expectations for its ability to be consumed fell brutally over the past Spring . . . and Summer, to the point of having to clean out the entire refrigerator.
No longer can I endure the look of disappointment suspended in a 64oz. glass urn. It hangs its head low, poor and depressed. I am certain this idling cucumber blames itself for the scores of rejections inflicted upon it. But the truth is it was never about its talent as a conductor of garlic and vinegar. No, it was a test. Will Mom throw this five pound jar of sea water with a two cent pickle away or go mad waiting for the expiration date?
That is the first question in refrigerator maintenance. The icebox holds all of the questions a woman faces during her lifetime. All the answers are three mind numbing hours of scraping, wiping, and gagging away. By the end of my nauseating journey with gooey, gummy things that grow, I will be grasping the sacred grasshopper.
Our path to enlightenment begins with the all-powerful, “Door of Bottles and Jars.” How is it that man can design a condiment like A1 Steak Sauce to last more than 7 years, but the space program is constantly in jeopardy? Why does the ketchup bottle fall out of favor with the capitalistic masses in the last quarter phase of its life? And speaking to the hearts of all mothers everywhere; is it possible to make a half emptied jelly jar look attractive? Ever? Is it?
Yes, I know as I continue to dump jelly jars and ketchup bottles, the answers will come to me like a bare foot on a lost marble. You know exactly what it is, still you can’t help screaming in the dark calm of the house.
Here’s another puzzle piece lingering in the door of the fridge: the butter dish. How many generations will pass through this earth before Kenmore, Frigidaire, and GE realize that the plastic butter dish is one more predetermined, petroleum based space occupier that will never be used and can never be thrown away? It’s not some elegant design produced by Fabergé that you proudly display in the middle of the dinner table. It’s a gaudy plastic tray that gets in the way of the cream cheese. Of course it can’t be thrown out because it came with the refrigerator. God forbid your husband finds out you threw the butter tray away; suddenly there’s a mad search for a good divorce attorney.
Out of the world of cooling and freezing there is one paradox that stands in a looming grimace over the others: the egg tray. What in the name of common consideration are we supposed to do with this stupid thing? Why do we need this sardonic plastic pit of a container? Is it simply to capture and cradle every icky, sticky, drippy drop that comes within a dead cat’s length of the refrigerator? Has it not occurred to the Wizarding World of Appliances that eggs already come in a container? Isn’t possible we could take that container the good people at the egg company already provided, and just stick it in the refrigerator? Can we do that? Can we put it on the shelf, thus taking the entire concept of “the carton” at face value?
I believe that we can overcome this one barrier. If we can embrace this knotty cardboard container, which has become a catalyst for our children’s art education, then we win. The lone pickles, nasty jelly jars, neglected ketchup bottles, and asinine butter dishes will all be like unsupported findings in a Kenneth Starr investigation if we can finally make the egg tray a forgotten part of history.
Life is simple people. We needn’t learn at the feet of Gandhi or Basho, or journey to the holy mountain of Jerusalem to find our peace. We need only to open our refrigerators and over-analyze an agonizingly dull chore.