My old refrigerator died. Well, it died, came back to life, died again, came back…the fridge with nine lives. After playing fridge roulette for a few weeks, we admitted that it was time to get a new one. The new fridge was delivered yesterday by two men who appeared to be in their twenties. (Yes, I did sing Money for Nothin’ in my head as they rolled it in on the dolly.)
They unwrapped all the foamy stuff and removed the tape and threw it on the floor next to the garbage can. Note: the garbage can has a step-on lever thingie so throwing things away is truly effortless. An installer doesn’t even have to touch the lid to effectuate the disposal of his garbage. One gentleman balled up a tiny bit of tape, made eye contact with me, and dropped it on the pile.
“OK,” I thought, “they’ll clean it up when they are done.”
Nope. They just walked out the door. Being lazy and not inclined to clean up after other people, particularly grown adult men who just throw things on the floor, I chased after them.
“Is this how you act in your mother’s house?” I asked them incredulously.
One gentleman said, “we don’t take away the packaging,” and kept walking. The other came back and helped me bag up the garbage.
In that moment, I realized that I no longer looked at twenty-something-year-olds as peers, but as children. I didn’t say, “would you do this in your own house?” but “in your mother’s house.” I associated more closely with their moms. (And bless that poor woman whose son just walked away. I hope she disinvites him to Thanksgiving dinner, or at least makes him do all the clean-up afterwards.)
I am forty-four. I don’t particularly feel forty-four, but my knee-jerk response places me firmly in the forty-four-year-old camp, and I’m fine with that. If it made one installer feel slightly guiltier about leaving a pile of trash in my kitchen, I’ll take that as a win.
Copyright © 2021 Lara Lillibridge
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