10/25 Daily What: Refrigeration is a miracle, and so is surviving without it

When Nicki Minaj and Beyonce got together and created the immortal “I’m feeling myself,” I know they weren’t actually thinking of the last time they had to empty their fridges, rehome all their frozen goods, and keep sending their children to school with non-expired lunch foods every day.

But people, there is nothing that makes you feel yourself like facing down a massive inconvenience like a leaky refrigerator and proving that you are resourceful and flexible enough to figure that shit out.

Here’s what I have spent the last 24 hours doing (besides going to work, blogging, putting dinner on the table, attending a meeting at my child’s day care, and stuff like that): lugging frozen meat and fish to my office to take up a significant-to-me but not-inconsiderate amount of space in the communal freezer. Buying nice wine for my kind neighbors who agreed to take custody of the frozen chickens that I have hoarded in the now-defrosted freezer I once took for granted. Getting out the screwdriver (of my own initiative!) and taking apart the freezer separator, cleaning it and putting it back. Arranging refrigerator goods in coolers just so and making sure there is plenty of ice to protect their as-yet-unspoiled status. Packing advance lunches for my kid and installing them, clearly labeled, in the back of the day care’s fridge.

Is this nirvana?

Is this nirvana?

And now, as I look at my clean, empty, room-temperature refrigerator, the work is done. A technician will come and replace the defroster and temperature gauge. Everything will be returned to its rightful place; my kid will get to have ice cream for dessert again.

I don’t particularly subscribe to the notion that our lives are too comfortable and we should actively seek to make them less so (unless there is a very good reason), but I do acknowledge the rush that comes from realizing that you could, in fact, live without a properly-working refrigerator for a couple of days. You have what it takes. When I go to Italy and the internet becomes infinitely less reliable, I get a thrill from figuring out where to go with no Google Maps and no transit apps. I am still capable. My ability to problem-solve, think on my feet, approach issues with agility and creativity (lightness?) reassures me and brings me joy.

I will be relieved when the fridge can be stocked once again. But right now? I’m feeling myself.