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January 11, 2006

The Tango Lesson

This is the only picture I have of my bassackwards fridge.
But imagine that on the left, exactly where the photo ends,
there is a protruding bank of cabinets. Cat optional.

My refrigerator is backwards.

One of the little quirks about LA, if you move anywhere (even into an apartment, the cheapest you can find) you have to provide your own fridge. That's how I ended up with mine, and Mr. Ex and I moved it from place to place, each time a little higher up on the food chain, until we landed in a condo in Studio City that eventually sold for more money than I could logically envision. (We rented.) (Or else I'd be writing this column from the comfort of my very own velvet-lined jungle room.)

So I moved into this tiny house in Encino Park, one year ago, and I kept the fridge because I can only assume he made other arrangements. The moving company sent me three fine young Latin men who moved my 2500-square-feet of stuff into this tiny 900-square-foot place, and that was when we discovered all at once the refrigerator doors opened in the wrong direction. To get a beer or a slice of cheese, you do a little dance with the door, it just barely clears the countertops, like a French farce for appliances.

Oscar was 19 years old, one of the moving men. A reformed cholo with the tattoos to prove it, he was a tall Latin man who could rescue a damsel in distress. (A tall Latin man!) He offered to come over the next day and fix my refrigerator. On his own time. Payment? Dinner. We made arrangements for 7 p.m. the next evening.

Oscar never showed.
It was for the best.

I would have taken any shred of affection back then, I was so wounded by my husband's abrupt departure. A sideways glance, any kindness, and I could have been yours. It was fate and serendipity that The Refrigerator Repairman, as he became known, never appeared. Who knows what path I may have taken out of sadness and hunger.

That appetite we have for desire, it never leads to good when it's steeped in sorrow. This much I know for sure.

So, to this day, my refrigerator doors open the wrong way, and one day I will fix them myself or I will move and either decision will be better than relying upon the kindness of strangers, a'la Blanche Dubois.

I think about this sometimes as I do a little tango in my kitchen to get the milk for my cereal. All those little quirks about Los Angeles, and divorce, all those things you learn as you go.

Posted by laurie at January 11, 2006 9:21 AM