Cleaned the fridge yesterday. Disaster.
I live with two small Asian females. How much filth could accumulate between the three of us? We should be geisha-like in our approach to cleanliness and general existence, right? Not a speck of dust or mold in our household.
On first glance, the fridge was a bit messy. One shelf was completely filled with half-eaten packages of cheese. We’d accumulated a lot of cheese over the last six months. At what stage did cheese stop “aging” and start “deteriorating”? As a non-consumer of cheese, I decided to leave that shelf to the experts. Perhaps they could arrange a cheese plate to sample and decide which ones had gone off.
I opened the vegetable crisper. A half-used bunch of spring onions lay crumpled and forlorn at the bottom. In a plastic bag lined with condensation, a singular bok choy remained unused. What was once pale was now dark green, nearly black. Ruthlessly, I disposed of both.
I grew up with a fridge Nazi of a mother. Everything was orderly. Jam and spreads in the top left corner. Leftovers in containers perfectly suited to the volume of leftovers on the second shelf. Raw meat or fish always on the bottom shelf lest their salmonella drippings drip onto the other refrigerated contents. The door always contained a veritable smorgasbord of Asian sauces and marinades. Things were neat, orderly, precise.
Now, I live in a share house. Fridge contents are strewn about without rhyme or reason (except for the cheese shelf). Raw meat on the second shelf. Jams spread across multiple levels and continents.
Yesterday, on the second shelf, a cling-wrapped package. Virtually unidentifiable without picking it up and inspecting closer. I tried to do just that but it was encrusted into the bars of the shelf. Determinedly, I prised it off. It left a dried black residue on the bars like the outline of a corpse at a crime scene.
It was meat. Red meat. Meat marinating in soy, perhaps. Or mold. I couldn’t be sure. I threw it in the bin. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have opened the cling-wrap to see what lay inside. For scientific purposes.
Later, a takeaway container of rice. Grains luxuriating in B. Cereus. Bacteria and carbohydrate intermingling in a beautiful marriage. I threw that away too. As I opened the bin to throw that out, I was hit with a gale-force wind of sour meat smell. It was so powerful, like nothing I had experienced before. I should have opened the cling wrap. I know that now. A smell that strong should not be ignored.
I conquered the shower next. As it turns out, the black drain plug is actually red. As I pulled someone else’s hair out of the drain, I wondered if it would be more hygienic to live permanently in the outdoors. A nomadic lifestyle harking back to the lifestyle of the Indigenous people of our country. Sand and soil to soak up miscellaneous fluids. No refrigeration so one is forced to eat food in a timely manner. And if you really fuck things up, you can just move on to your next location.
Maybe I should throw away our fridge.