I bought a fridge this week.
This may not sound like a comment-worthy event, financial implications aside. It’s an appliance. It’s white, has a section which cools things and a section which freezes things, and fits into a purpose-built dent in the makeup of the kitchen attached to the house which I lease with two friends. It comes with a five-year warranty, so I don’t need to think about it again for at least five years. It even has the name ‘Bosch’ stenciled in silvery lettering on the front.
All rather underwhelming, really.
But here’s the thing. I now own my first household appliance. And it’s a big ‘un. Easily the biggest, heaviest and least portable item I own. Even the bed I have inherited from my parents comes easily apart and slots into the back of a car for transportation to the next destination (usually a storage locker). Not so my fridge, which is about as portable as a large white hundred-and-twenty pound brick.
As a Third Culture Kid, I have an innate aversion to any attachment to place. I am mobile. I like being mobile. I don’t like being cooped up in one place for very long. About six weeks does it for me. After that, I’m wanting to crawl walls. It’s why I end up developing self-harming hobbies like snow-kiting. And why, when I’m sitting around waiting for the next deployment, I get ancy. I’m a Global Nomad, and I pride myself on my rapid redeployability. As a general rule, if it doesn’t fit into my backpack (or at very least over my shoulder), I’m probably not that interested in it.
Which is why the fridge is a source of considerable consternation for me. I realise it’s not the same as buying a house (something I came perilously close to earlier this year, but was deliverered by a lousy first-home-buyer’s market)- but it feels like it’s on the same slippery spectrum. Which would presumably start with something like a toaster, and culminate in a white picket fence with two-point-four children, two mortgages, a college fund and a dalmatian.
I’m getting the cold sweats just typing this stuff. Somebody, quick, direct me to a travel agent’s.
Of course, my friends here think this is a healthy development. I now own a fridge, which means I have to manage this fridge. It has a five-year warranty, which means that I should own said fridge for at least five years before it dies on me (and- hopefully?- much longer). I have to maintain it, to find it a home when I travel overseas for long periods, and take it with me when I move houses. In effect, I am now in a stable five-year committed relationship with a household appliance. Which, if I succeed in not selling it to somebody in the next few months, will probably end up being the longest I’ve ever been in a stable relationship for.
I suppose, on the positive side, the fridge can be considered to be a wise fiduciary investment. I mean, sure, it’s not a house. It probably won’t appreciate. But it doesn’t come with any of the associated risks. Loan repayments. Market crashes. Termites. Squatters. Plus you can keep food in it. And beer. If things get really really bad, and I lose my job and don’t have anywhere to live, I could probably sleep in the thing. Punch a couple of air-holes in the side and it’ll keep the rain off me. Heck, if I keep it around long enough, when I die they can even bury me in it.
Seriously, where’s that travel agent?