Yesterday, as I do most Saturdays, I was unloading groceries, and as I popped open the fridge to deposit a bag of peaches, I noticed something horrible: the color of a bloodstain, below the left-side crisper, with what appeared to be a label in the middle of it. For all I could tell, with or without glasses, what I was seeing looked like a piece of flank steak that had fallen to the bottom of the fridge and forgotten for however long. My first impulse, sensibly enough, was to pull out that crisper. Not happening: the fridge is parked in a corner, and the door wouldn't open wide enough to allow the drawer to be pulled out more than halfway, and I couldn't reach behind it. Plan B: I opened up the opposite crisper and tried to reach the buried item. No success. Plan C: I found a fairly dull pie cutter from some time in the last century, draped a washcloth over it, and slid it in under the crisper. It was somewhere in the middle of this process that I discovered what the mysterious object was: the shadow of a package of lunch meat, two shelves above, marginally distorted by the optics of the shelf above, under which is attached the slide rails for the crisper. On one level, I was relieved to find that my fridge wasn't as filthy as I thought it was; but on another, I figured I'd earned a facepalm, preferably with a palm the size of King Kong's, for being this clueless.

Admittedly, I have a long history of reaching erroneous conclusions about what I'm seeing. A couple of years ago I was visiting some WordPress site, and there was this little blotch on the screen that looked like, well, recent nasal effluent. (Sometimes you just gotta sneeze.) I couldn't wipe it off, and a 10-minute cycle through one of those blink-every-damn-pixel programs, called up through the command line for the purpose of jarring loose the occasional stuck pixel, accomplished nothing. Frustrated, I hit F5, and the page reloaded and that stupid "snow" effect, which had apparently stalled during the first page load, started up again, of course in a different place. Why a series of white dots would produce something green in failure mode made no sense to me then, and still doesn't; but what other explanation do I have?

Then there was The Great Refueling Failure, which went like this:

Conventional wisdom says that you follow the little arrow inside the gauge. I looked at it, and it looked like the one in my car: pointing to the right. Except that the filler on my car is on the left. Being distrustful of Nissan fuel gauges anyway, I decided I'd wait for the next G37 to come along and take notes. As it happens, the little C-store/Shell station around the corner from me had a G37 at the pump, and it was filling from the right side, so I manuevered into the nearest appropriate position and felt around for the remote fuel-door release on the underside of the driver's side armrest.

I found nothing there.

This model, in fact, didn't have a remote fuel-door release, which I'd have known if I'd read the manual if the dealership had left it in the car where it could be read. (I was half expecting to find it intact but wrapped in plastic, and was contemplating methods to free it from its transparent jail without leaving a trace when the glove box proved to contain nothing, not even a glove.)

Still, for sheer lack of clue, nothing beats, so to speak, an incident from Early Puberty, in which I discovered that the phrase "rub it until the swelling goes down" was, um, not applicable in this particular instance. The eventual result was "Omigod, I broke it!" No way on God's green earth could I explain this to the parental units; all I could do was wait for it to heal, and hope nobody inspected the laundry basket too carefully.

The Vent

  14 June 2015

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 Copyright © 2015 by Charles G. Hill