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October 24th, 2005

Music in the Fridge?

Tonight I received a phone call from my Nanna.

My Nanna is eighty-four: a tiny, silver haired woman from Manchester who, after living in Australia for fifty years, still has a strong accent. She and my Pop, who is eighty-seven, live out in Hurstville in Sydney, and they water their garden and plant new flowers, and worry about spending money on things like eye operations. I tell them to get the eye operations. You shouldn't be in your eighties and worrying about if it's right to be able to see. You get the eye fixed. But they've been dirt poor and, when they came to Australia, left trades and houses for nothing but what they could scrap together; so they're always worried that one day they'll wake up and have to go back to operating a sandwich shop again to make money. They're a little insane like that, but it's the general immigrant grandparent insanity, and quite low key. Otherwise, my Nanna teaches me to make apple pie and, while I can't manage half as well as her, it's good to have the goal. I long ago stopped trying to meet my Pop's cooking skills. I just eat and am happy.

Anyhow, I got a phone call tonight:

"You'll never believe this," my Nanna said. "I can't believe it myself, but I've got to tell someone. It's just too weird. Too weird. You're never going to believe this, Ben, but the fridge is playing music."

"What?"

"The fridge is playing music. It's been doing it for two days."

"Has Pop heard this?"

"Yes," she said, annoyed. "When I came home today I heard it--heard it at 2.30. Then at 3.30, 4.30, 5.30, and 6.30. I didn't hear it at 7.30, but I called Clifford--I called Clifford up during the day and he heard it. We both had a good laugh. It's the same song playing in our fridge. It sounds daft, but really, the fridge has music."

"Ah." I hesitated. "Music in your fridge?"

"It sounds daft, I know. If I was hearing it from someone I'd think it was daft. It's always the same music. It begins with a man speaking and then ends with that song that goes, 'have you ever been in love?' Do you know that song?"

"Not really. Do you have a clock in your fridge?"

"Of course not!" she snapped in that politely English/Grandmother way.

And on and on we went. She thinks that the neighbours have bought some sort of gadget that is, somehow, playing through their fridge. I'm thinking that my Pop, who has his moments, might have left something not food in it. Nanna tells me it's just fruit and milk and juice, but, well, what can I say? I told her she should have a look through the fridge and she said she would, tomorrow, but I don't think she will. I think I might end up out there, looking through her fridge (and around it). But the whole thing is just a bit on the weird side, with the undercurrent of worry you get for old people who might, y'know, be slipping slightly. Unless of course she is right and there's some odd piece of technology beaming out bits of music and radio chatter into my Nanna and Pop's fridge.

But life just isn't that satisfyingly weird, I find.