Refrigerator Rights

July 30, 2007

logo21.jpgNo Fun Monday for me this week. Amy over at A Family Story is the host and wants to see my fridge. That’s not going to happen. We have been cutting down trees and shrubs all day and I’m wiped. I opened the fridge and asked if she was ready for company and she said not without a once over. I agree. So to see the other Fun Monday posts, head on over to Amy’s and she’ll send you on your way.


This challenge reminded me of a keynote I heard recently by Dr. Will Miller. He is an excellent comedian among other things. During his presentation he physically shifted from the teacher – counselor – therapist persona to the comic, stepping to the side of the podium and then back again. I don’t think he lost the audience once and nowadays that’s quite an accomplishment. It was good to belly laugh and we all did.

Anyway, he talked a little about Refrigerator Rights and who has them. Who can open your refrigerator without asking? Can you open theirs without asking? He said that those friends who are comfortable raiding your fridge are close enough to be family and in this day and age they are few. Because we do not form the type of relationships that afford refrigerator rights, the day to day emotional and social support systems are missing.

He attributed this in part to our mobility and technology. We tend not to stay in one place very long and although we are connected through electronic media, we know more about the television personalities than our neighbors. Acquaintances do not become friends of the refrigerator rights kind.

He ran us through a little exercise where we shouted out the names of all the characters on the Jetsons. We didn’t miss one. We didn’t do so well when it came to numbering those in our lives who have refrigerator rights. Interesting.

Living in the same neighborhood that I grew up in, I can see a dramatic change. I can tell you who lived in many of the houses 40 years ago, and all of the members of their family. I may even be able to tell you the names of their pets. I’ve been back now for about 10 years. We wave at our neighbors and exchange pleasantries, but only really know two by name. We are friendly, but don’t come anywhere near having refrigerator rights.

Back in the day, when a family grieved the neighborhood pulled together to make sure they were taken care of. We had an annual picnic at the big park and if you weren’t there we all new why, or worried because we didn’t. All of the kids in the subdivision were in the 4-H club and at Halloween we had a progressive dinner where we walked from house to house for different parts of the meal that all the moms had cooked. If Mr. Dugle was out of town for the night, everyone watched out for his family. There was a sense of responsibility and caring, and it is different now. Do you see it too?

On the other hand, I’m not letting anyone in my refrigerator today.

No refrigerator rights for you at gawilli’s. Nope. None.

So it may be just me.

22 Responses to “Refrigerator Rights”

  1. her indoors Says:

    bet you’ve got a supply of chocolates in your fridge thats why you wont let us take a look cause you dont want to share!

  2. tod Says:

    What an interesting post. I had noticed this habit of delving into fridges on American sitcoms and always wondered about it. I thought we must all be tight arses over here because that is just not done no matter how good your friends are, not without asking anyway.

  3. mjd Says:

    I like your Non-Fun Monday post. You (and I do mean you as in Gawilli not you as in the entire blogosphere) can come and open my refrigerator anytime. But, I actually did clean up a little bit after writing my Fun Monday post. When I was young, our milkman walked in our house and put the milk in the refrigerator. Our milk came in glass quart bottles. The milk was not homogenized so the cream stayed at the top until one of we three girls would skim some off the top for a tasty treat.

    I hope that the tree-cleaning is going well and almost finished. In the late seventies, our Sunday School class, which was called The Warm Fuzzies had a few progressive dinners.

  4. Nessa Says:

    Excellent post and so true.

    I’m not showing anyone the inside of my refrigerator. Then they’d know how much I drink; D

  5. Daddy D Says:

    That is fine with me. I have had the good luck to have eaten great food at your house. To me that is the joy, not the keeping it cold and safe.

  6. debi Says:

    This is a great post even though I still think you cheated us. We want to see your fridge! Ya know the whole “who can go into your fridge” thing is something I have noticed in the last few years.My friend Lynne always comes in and rummages through mine looking for something of interest. I do the same at her house. My daughter Cady loves to go with me over to Lynnes just to check out whats in there that she may want. When I go to my daughters houses I can go into the fridge but I never do that at my sons homes.On the other hand, all my kids head straight to the kitchen at my house. “Did you bake cookies this week?” “How bout a pie?” They even get upset when I make something that I know they don’t like.No matter how old you get you never lose kitchen privileges at Moms house.

  7. corky Says:

    What if Corky came by? would you be mad if he took a swig of OJ? I promise if I spill any I wipe it up with my shirt. 😉

  8. Swamp Witch Says:

    I always enjoy coming here just to look at Sarah’s picture and knowing the difference she is making in the quest to find a cure for Breast Cancer.
    Your post today is phenominal…phunny that you aren’t opening your rephrigerator door.

  9. chrisb Says:

    Disappointed that we didn’t get ‘fridge rights’ but that was a really interesting post. MJD’s comment reminded me of growing up in the country and working on a milk round and for a greengrocer and she’s right it was an expectation that we put milk in fridges or more often than not into a bucket of cold water (not everyone had the luxury of a fridge)!!

  10. Karmyn R Says:

    What a great post!!! And, so true – thinking about it, I remember when I first felt comfortable enough to have “fridge rights” at the in-laws.

  11. Karmyn R Says:

    Hey – I’m making this my Weekly Delight…..I’ll have it posted tomorrow (Wednesday)

  12. Patsy Ann Says:

    Very interesting post, in fact i enjoyed it! Frig rights – it is strange – I am not ashamed of how my frige looks, but having some one, except family and I mean very close family, like my kids, their kids (maybe) my sisters look in it is kind of like violating a rule of authority, no right given! It is a feeling like the rule that only my sisters and my daughter can come into the bathroom with me!

    Enough now Gawilli – I hope that you don’t mind but I have tagged you for a post that I will post on Wed.

  13. Michelle Says:

    Loved this post. Very thought-provoking.

    We had new people move in across the street and they were shocked / impressed to find out that I knew the names of the people in the houses on either side of us. I’ve never been over to visit, but we’ve bumped into each other working in our gardens and such. It’s important to me that if the woman next door had an emergency, I’d at least be able to tell ambulance crews her name and where to contact her family.

    There’s not much of that anymore, is there?

  14. Susan Says:

    Fridge rights…something I never thought of, but it is so very true. At least in the bathroom you can close the door and snoop in the medicine cabinet…but the fridge is too out in the open! 🙂

  15. giveitatry Says:

    This is a great post and SO true. You have put into words what I noticed a long time ago, but was unable to articulate. Times have changed.

  16. Big John Says:

    When I was a kid I lived in a neighbourhood in South London where everyone knew everyone else, but no one had ‘refrigerator rights’ because no one had a refridgerator. 🙂

  17. dilling Says:

    It’s a funny thing here, despite the hardships of this neighbourhood, the friends that I have made on these streets are the best…all of my neighbours have fridge rights here, most of them use them.
    In fact, most of all of my friends, everywhere, have fridge rights…but I am pretty choosy about my friends and not very territorial about my fridge. My kitchen is always full of food, I bake, I pick fruit, I keep beer cold…and I guess through my habit of feeding everyone, everyone now just knows to help themselves.

  18. Tiggerlane Says:

    Okay – not sure I will ever let anyone have “refrigerator rights” unless they live in my house. I always find it rude when people want to open my fridge and eat my stuff…ask first, you know? I have some friends that would drink every beer in my beer fridge, and leave me with nothing, if given a chance. Some would say they weren’t real friends – I would just say they were drunk.

    Maybe some of my kid’s friends have those rights. Not the beer rights, tho!

  19. Ha! Funny that I’m commenting right behind Tiggerlane. She and I have had discussions about refrigerator rights.

    I love your post and I agree with all the points you made. This is one of the main reasons I moved back to the small town (less than 400 population) where I grew up. It isn’t exactly the same as when I was a child, but there is still a greater sense of neighborliness and caring for each other than I ever experienced living in large cities. People around here knew my grandparents and my parents. I like that continuity and familiar sense of belonging to a community.

  20. Pamela Says:

    I wish more people had refrigerator rights at my house.
    then I could blame people for the stuff squished in the back that I can n o longer identify.

    You are right about the friendships and family….
    before computers (although I love my blogging friends)
    and before TV.

    There were front porches, and lemonade in the fridge.

    good memories.

  21. […] things that should go into room 101 and be removed from the face of the […]

  22. Hazel Says:

    Pamela pointed me here & I am so glad she did!

    I couldn’t stop thinking of people who have refrigerator rights at our house but maybe that is because I have a large “take-me-as-I-am” type family… or maybe it’s a MidWest thing…. or maybe I’m just a lousy hostess. Hey, if youwant something, get it yourself.

    You are so right about getting to know your neighbors. There aren’t many out here and I know most by name but I’ve never been in most of their homes at all. When the kids were little we did a better of job of getting to know the ones with children… but they have all moved away and been replaced by people we never bothered to get to know. My fault. Too busy.

    Our lives are so filled nowadays, right? “Back then” what was there to do? and AIR CONDITIONING keeps us inside now, too!

    Come on over & enjoy my air conditioning anytime! Open the fridge & have a cold one (but don’t be surprised if you find something molding in there!)

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