Ancient technology.

4 06 2007

Yesterday I decided it was time to defrost my freezer. I’d never seen anything like it before: a small space that became increasingly smaller with each passing day as ice grew inside of it until it looked like a geode, the center of which could hold little more than an ice cube tray and the occasional box of chicken nuggets.

No one told me that defrosting a freezer is something I’d have to do, and it didn’t start bothering me until I realized that the icecream I stored in it wasn’t exactly freezing. It was sitting in the freezer and turning into pints of strawberry cheesecake flavored smoothies. And, for a girl who grew up in the land of Ben & Jerry’s, that is not okay. So, I took it upon myself to ask some locals here about why my freezer was getting smaller and what I needed to do to fix it.

Seems like a stupid question, right? But never in my entire life have I owned, used, or seen a refrigerator that required maintenance like this. A freezer is supposed to be a box to put things in to keep frozen. It is not supposed to be an appliance that requires its users to plan their grocery shopping endeavors around its idiosyncracies. The advice I gathered from my colleagues was this: make sure your fridge has nothing that will spoil in it before you decide to defrost it; therefore, do your shopping a week in advance and plan it so that you eat the things that will spoil first. (Yeah, right.) Then, on the day you decide to defrost it, lay out towels all over the floor. Be prepared for water to spill everywhere. If you want it to defrost faster, boil water in a pot and place the pot in the fridge. Unplug, and leave the door open for two or three hours. Repeat every two weeks.

How high maintenance can an appliance be?

It was at this point yesterday, in the middle of typing the post about the refrigerator (with the same title, by the way) that my computer up and died. It wasn’t so much that it just shut down, it was a fairly long process of thinking about dying, having a near-death experience, and then deciding at last that it would be better off in Computer Heaven than it would be in Brazil. I spent hours on the phone reaching out to our loved ones to tell them the news, to grieve, and to call the computer equivalent of the Respite House to announce the passing of another beloved soul. I called a couple witch doctors to see if they could recommend anything short of sacrificing animals to bring back my hard drive, but everyone seemed to say the same thing: You’re screwed.

I won’t mention how much data I have stored away, how much writing, how much music, how many photos. But after the passing of any loved one, one must develop a plan for survival. My plan is this: bring my computer home to the States, save whatever I can from its insides, and donate the rest to science.

On Thursday, the school is going to see the Human Body exhibit in São Paulo. It gives me comfort to know that maybe one day, years from now, I’ll be in an Ancient Technology exhibit in some museum in some other city, and I’ll walk by the Mac iBook sections and there she’ll be, little Imogen, broken, empty, lonely, but beautiful all the same.


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