Everyone’s talking about Power and Energy – not the metaphysical vibe angle, the industry: brown-outs and bill shock are imminent.
So let me tell you how I shrunk my power bill so low I got an “are you okay?” call from the energy company. The household power usage had suddenly dropped by a staggering 85% so apparently they have some sort of imperative to make sure you’re still alive.
It was because I got rid of the fridge – that was the only change. The power company woman gasped as if I’d said I had a crashed UFO in the cellar. Nobody I told even believed me.
The refrigerator is an icon of consumer culture, a monolithic kitchen presence that ensures our food safety and modernity. It is literally impossible to live without a fridge – or is it?
I went fridge-free for just under five months and it’s inconvenient, but not impossible. Admittedly, it’s much easier for me as I don’t eat meat but the basic concept of a fridge-free life is that you eat fresh food – things you’ve baked, green leaves or tomatoes straight from the garden etc.
Yes, it’s very ‘raw vegan super-foodie’ and if you’re thinking “nobody takes away my Brie cheese” or whatever, I get it. But maybe a tiny fridge – like the ones countertop ones that pharmacies use for probiotic products – could be the go?
The gigantic fridge trope came out of the post-World War II Pluto in Leo years when kitchen appliances became part of, as Betty Friedan wrote in The Feminine Mystique, a campaign to establish suburban housewifery as the pinnacle of femininity and female happiness.
It also enabled the industrial food processing complex via the so-called “cold-chain” and frozen food. Replaced by the freezer, food preservation became less of a necessity and more of a rustic chic decor affectation – think rows of poached pears, piles of pumpkins and hipster waiters.
As the fridge moved from utilitarian cooler to being actually cool, the popularity of celebrity “What’s In My Fridge” stories spawned a niche genre of work: the fridge interior stylist.
A Vice magazine headline summed up the scene perfectly: Celebrity Kitchens Are Beautiful, Barely Used, and Basically One Big Flex.
2015 – Jupiter in Leo, Venus Retrograde in Leo/Virgo – was a peak year for fridge fashion statements: Smeg launched the Dolce & Gabbana designer refrigerator, Yolande Hadid’s fridge got its own Instagram account and the ‘French Doors, stainless steel aesthetic’ went mainstream.
Rather than replacing an existing fridge when it conked out, the marketing impetus was that you would upgrade.
More recently, the fridge has become a data collector, equipped with multiple sensors to pick up info. Yes, they’re all connected and listening – the officially smart ones just have more features.
It’s one thing that data is bought and sold but shouldn’t you be able to opt out of it? You can’t and there are virtually no dumb appliances.
They’re also supremely difficult to find and government recommendations don’t cover the weirdness of this new paradigm – shouldn’t manufacturers be paying us? – or the additional electro-pollution.
I lost it with our former fridge when I realized that, apart from making a noise like a small plane readying for takeoff when the compressor kicked in overnight, I could hear a high-frequency whine whenever I was near it.
It was supposed to be a dumb fridge yet when I spoke to the manufacturer, they confirmed it collected data to “help guide my future purchasing decisions” or some other drivel.
They also said that even an electrical engineer would be unable to remove the chip without the fridge becoming inoperable. I thought the Right To Repair movement would have gotten more traction over Uranus in Taurus!
I’d just read Surveillance Capitalism so that plus the horrible all-night hum scenario cinched it: the fridge was going.
I donated it to a charity that helps women fleeing domestic violence set up their new place which may sound mean, given that I’d just become an anti-fridge activist, but I figured that in terms of priorities, these ladies had more pressing needs.
The guy who came to collect the fridge was a crisis removalist: he shifted furniture in high-stress situations – repossessions when someone had reneged on a store plan and house moves for victims.
A sturdy-looking affable Taurus, he said most arguments begin near the fridge and that slamming the fridge door – presumably in a rage at the lack of food or a particular food inside – was a common way of asserting dominance in domestic gulags.
The kitchen seemed empty without the fridge – practically every place has an alcove for them – and it turned out the habitual groove of gliding to the fridge for a ‘diversion’ was incredibly ingrained.
But the house was remarkably quieter and more serene without it. Most food was fine but irritatingly salad greens go off ridiculously fast. Still, the power saving was extraordinary and it compels you to eat more fresh food.
While I eventually succumbed to pressure from others in the household and got a new fridge, I am plotting my return to fridge-free utopia. I like the idea of a counter-top fridge – perhaps not for big families, of course – or the non-electrical, terracotta-based MittiCool Earthen Refrigerator.
All this is without even thinking about the chemical component or the natural health theory that chilled food fuqs with digestion. So could you/would you consider a small fridge/no fridge?
Given that I just received an email from the energy company saying that they had “counselling” available for people who might experience discomfort when opening their next power bill, it has to become a more appealing option.
And, a drastic dietary change/food regime shift that pivots away from a legacy paradigm totally fits the incoming Pluto in Aquarius paradigm. Thoughts?