Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quirky Me

People are nuts. Okay, let's be honest. They are just plain crazy. And while I don't understand why people do what they do, this is exactly why I love them---the uniqueness factor. These quirks, or personality hiccups, if you will, are defined by some bend in their story, something that has left an impression sharp and deep, even if they don't recognize it.

I'm sure people would tell you I have a lot of strange quirks. They pop up frequently in my day. However, the most notable quirk revolves around my refrigerator. I cannot stand to see it empty, or even half empty, or even 98% empty. It must full and colorful and happy ALL THE TIME.

If the food supply begins to dip below the completely full mark, I panic. I rush to grocery store as if my family is starving to "stock up" on what we might need. I go down each aisle in the grocery store (in a giddy, disturbing fashion) and look at all food items I might need to take home. I don't buy them all, of course, but I think about it. When I get home, I line up all the items in my refrigerator in spectacular order, if I do say so myself, then bask in the bright light of the open fridge door. I close it. Then I open it one more time for the last blissful peak. It's beautiful.

This fridge fetish certainly comes from my childhood. Our fridge was never completely empty, but it was never really full either. We were always missing something. When I would call my mom to say I poured the last bowl of cereal and we have not one drip of milk left in the whole darn place, she would get miffed that I called during work for this non-issue. "Just use water," she would snip. "Problem solved."

Water on cereal. Are you kidding me? It was the same for everything I wanted to make. No eggs for cookie dough? It will taste the same without them. No bread for sandwiches? Eat the peanut butter on a spoon. No lunch meat left? Slap on another slice of cheese. It seemed like we were always missing something in that fridge. So, when I got a fridge of my own and paid the grocery bill, I marched firmly to the other end of the spectrum and obsessively filled it. I call it kind of quirky. I'm sure my husband would call it something else entirely.

The whole reason I even started thinking about my fridge obsession was because of poetry. I was trying to find a poem to read out loud at the library when I came across this one by Julia Kasdorf.

When Our Women Go Crazy
When our women go crazy, they're scared there won't be
enough meat in the house. They keep asking
but how will we eat? Who will cook? Will there be enough?
Mother to daughter, it's always the same
questions. The sisters and aunts recognize the symptoms:
she thinks there's no food, same as Mommy
before they sent her away to that place,
and she thinks if she goes, the men will eat
whatever they find right out of the saucepans.
When our women are sane, they can tomatoes
and simmer big pots of soup for the freezer.
They are satisfied arranging spice tins
on cupboard shelves lined with clean paper.
They save all the leftovers under tight lids
and only throw them away when they're rotten.
Their refrigerators are always immaculate and full,
which is also the case when our women are crazy.

After reading this poem, it was like a light bulb came on. I am not alone in my craziness. We all have quirks that make people scratch their heads and wonder. It even makes us wonder. But somehow, I guess, it just feels good to know we are all riding this crazy train together in one bumpy caboose. Of course, I'll be bringing the cooler packed full with food, all color coded and packed perfectly, for the trip. You go ahead and do whatever you need to do, too.