OPINION: Recently I read somewhere that when men complain about how much women spend on clothes and shoes, women stick it right back at the blokes, pointing out how much that sex happily fritters away on big-ticket items, such as super duper computers, and fancy cars, which depreciate the minute you drive them out of the shop floor.
Cars are just things to get you from A to B for me, preferably on as little gas as possible, but I wouldn't say no to a pick-up truck. Speaking of big-ticket items, I have been avoiding the flat fridge for ages. I used to have a friend who would come round to the house and the first thing he did was to walk over to my fridge, open the door and scream with laughter at the contents.
Or rather lack of them. If I was murdered and the constabulary came round to the house to do the forensics and wanted to find out what sort of person I was, the fridge would give it away in a flash. From the line up of half opened cat tins, pet milk and hard cheese they would deduce that the deceased was your typical spinster of this parish, until they got to the horse's head.
The old fridge had developed a nasty habit of collecting a small lake round the vegetable box, which had to be continually mopped up, till one day last week, even I couldn't stand it anymore, bit the bullet and went out to make the commitment to purchase a big-ticket item, which I have to tell you, now that the new fridge is in situ, is just like a bought one.
It has vast shelves, a moveable partition for the eggs and a swanky state-of- the-art drawer for the freezer, which is parked where it should be at the base. I asked the guy in the shop why they still make fridges with freezers on the top and he said it's because it's more energy- efficient.
An old mate of mine who was a sailor mourned the introduction of freezers on the bottom and eye level ovens because he would fantasise about coming home from the sea and watching the wife bend over to get his nice home-cooked hot meal out of the oven, or retrieve something from the fridge. He must have been in heaven watching girls play snooker.
Another thing I don't understand about modern fridges is why the silver ones are way more expensive and why people prefer them to whiteware. Apparently you even have to buy special stuff to clean them.
So the new fridge had arrived and I stacked it with the four half-opened cat tins, the pet milk and the hard cheese, and in their new setting they looked terribly pathetic, downright miserable.
There was nothing for it but to beat a hasty retreat to the supermarket and get decent supplies to grace this new fridge.
Now if you looked at the contents of my fridge no one would find it the least bit funny, what with the five food groups all beautifully represented, the vegetable box brimming with legumes and fruit, a bottle of wine and nail polish cooling elegantly in the side pocket. I can't stop opening the door and admiring it, and whenever people visit I drag them over to it to demonstrate how it beeps if you leave the door open for too long.
I come from a long line of dead fridges, so this is a big step for me. The only other big-ticket item is the television, which is a replacement for the one that got munted back in the quake and I'm still waiting for the cheque from EQC to wend its way here. You live in Hope - population 1.
I have been fortunate enough to have had a constant stream of visitors staying and take them for the tour of the damaged city, starting off with the Gap Filler fridge library, which never fails to impress. Apparently it has been under attack again, the glass smashed and now replaced with perspex. One day I guess hoons will come along, lasso the fridge and drive off dragging it behind like robbers do with Eftpos machines and safes.
The visitors express concern that I may be sick of showing people the wreckage, sometimes asking if it's all right to take photos. It wasn't at the beginning when it was too raw, I tell them, but I reckon most people want those from out of town to come here and get their heads around it, appreciate the sheer scale of the damage, get a notion of how some poor sods are living, and also take note that this isn't as perilous as Iran or East Timor.
A 4.8 earthquake obliged on the Friday and the guest said she took her cue from me, which was feigned nonchalance. It did go on a bit though, and I was showing off, as if seismic activity happens every other minute. Benecio brings a mouse in and places it neatly next to the fridge. I feel strangely proud that the hunter gatherer is doing his bit.
- The Press