Expressing Myself

You can have your profile pages, your astrological charts, your bumper stickers, your message T-shirts.  Not me.  I express myself through my refrigerator.  The door of my refrigerator, c’est moi.

It’s messy and chaotic, of course.  There’s too much there, haphazardly attached.  If you slam the door when you’re getting milk or wine, an item or two may slide onto the floor.  Eventually, it will get picked up and reapplied, usually in a different place.  The law of the jungle applies.

Most of the so-called decoration is a ragtag collection of greeting cards and magnets that are simply too “me” to give to anyone else.  Namely:

* A very soignee woman with crimped hair and a frothy dress smokes a cigarette.  “Maybe I want to look cheap,” she says.

* A little boy asks his father, “Are women smarter than men, Dad?”  The father gazes off into the distance, his face puzzled.  The thought bubble over his head is a blank.

* “They say I have A.D.D., but they don’t understand,” a woman in a hat informs us.  “Oh, look!  A chicken!”

* A drunk collapses and falls down the stairs.  “Help me get him up, Kate,” a man says to a woman.  “He’s our designated driver.”

* In what may be my all-time favorite card, a woman with curly hair, a ruffled robe and a resentful face pours herself a drink that appears to be something stronger than milk.  “This is now officially the worst fucking day of my life,” she says.  (Inside, it reads: “Hope this card perks you up!”)

* “Housework is a snap,” one man jauntily tells another, “since I realized, ‘Hey! I’m a guy!’ ”

* “Is this our allowance, Mommy?” two freckle-faced kids ask as their mother dumps change out of a jar.  “No, kids, it’s my life’s savings,” she says.

There’s more that’s semi-serious, fragments of our travels — the museum in Balbao, a house in Charleston, some island in Scotland, where it rained and the wind blew, our son’s photo super-imposed on Mount Rushmore.

But, if you want to know people, know their stuff, our friend Sam Gosling says in his book, Snoop.

In my case, you don’t even have to snoop.  It’s all there on the door of our refrigerator.  “I know what turns women on,” a man says on a magnet that’s my most recent acquisition.  He’s doing the dishes but, in real life, he would have been cooking dinner.

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

1 comment… add one
  • Winston Link

    Thanks for sharing this.
    Sadly, I guess we should be less polite and snoop more.  I have had the task of going through the household possessions  of several friends and relatives after each has died. While I am happy to report that I discovered nothing shocking, I learned so much more about these people by going through desks, dressers, boxes of cards and letters in shoe boxes tucked away, etc. So many new subjects were suddenly open for discussion with each of these loved ones— only it was too late. Now, sometimes, I sit and remember conversations we never got to have.

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