By Jeffrey G. Roberts
I live in a beautiful apartment in Tucson, Arizona. No complaints, but I have an old-style refrigerator – not the frost-free kind. The kind that begins to resemble a ski resort over time. And I’d noticed over the months it was developing a lot of ice in the freezer. Any day I expected to see a Yeti in there! So I asked maintenance for instructions, and they suggested that I get a big pot of boiling water and put it in there. Do this several times, they said, and the mountains of accumulated ice would all melt. Well, it took about six cycles of re-boiling the water – but it worked! I used so many towels everywhere to sop up the melting ice, my floor looked like a linen factory warehouse. When I moved in 3 years ago, I could put a whole turkey and more into that freezer. Now- I’d be lucky to squeeze in a hot dog! Now I knew what a cholesterol-clogged artery felt like. But in fact, it was quite picturesque. I was thinking of taking a picture of this frozen landscape and submitting it to the Alaskan tourism bureau. No one would ever know the difference. I’d always wanted to visit the Alps. Now I wouldn’t have to! I did manage to rescue a couple of lost German hikers on their way to the Matterhorn, right near the condenser coils. They were amazed that they could have been so far off course! Looking back at my freezer, I said it was understandable.
Then began the arduous task of boiling more pots of water. I did it so many times I was thinking of opening up my place as a mid-wife birthing center. “More hot water!” Well, I certainly had enough of it. And steam? Oh my God! My apartment looked like the smoky back rooms in the Capitol, where dubious deals are made amongst the puffing of expensive cigars! I had put towels everywhere, but leaking was also everywhere – like an old Russian submarine. I kept thinking of that old song, “Three Coins In The Fountain”, but there were no coins in this fountain, only drippy cheese and soggy bread. I eventually ended up having enough towels to cover the head of every holy man from Bangladesh to Abu Dhabi!
So I closed the door on my stalactite replica, while I waited for the pot to cool down yet again. And every few minutes I could hear a loud crack, only to open the freezer door just in time to see a slab of ice shear off and careen down toward the vegetable bin. Maybe I could charge for tours! I was reminded of those National Geographic specials on the Arctic, where icebergs would crack off and send massive sheets into the water. I dismissed this comparison out of hand, until I saw two Icelandic sailors slide off one piece, and careen into the mayonnaise. I sent them off toward Reykjavik, with a hearty “Skolna borka!” I actually have no idea what that means, but it sounded good, and the sailors seemed happy anyway. After about seven cycles of boiling the same water over and over again (plus bringing 10 babies- 7 boys and 3 girls, into the world!) the freezer was “unfreezed” for the first time in over a year! I have to remind myself to call the Smithsonian, because under all that ice I found part of the missing Dead Sea Scrolls and an artifact from Atlantis! Lucky me! I’m beginning to think maintenance knows something I don’t! Either way, I’m keeping the Atlantean artifact. Maybe I can sell it to the Smithsonian. With any luck, I’ll be able to afford a new refrigerator! Anyway, I took all the soggy towels, and carried them to be dried off. Unfortunately, the combined weight of them caused our building to list permanently two degrees to starboard. Now I knew how they felt in Pisa, Italy! So now, instead of a freezer the size of a cigar tube, I have one the size of a C-5 Galaxy transport jet! So next time, I’ll be prepared! Never again will I let it get this far. Besides, the sound of muffled Germans chattering, “Vas ist los! Mein Gott!” was really beginning to get on my nerves. Maybe I’ll follow the instructions better next time! If there is a next time!
But I’m cleaning my skis – just in case!