In sharing an office apartment with him, I quickly realized it was Keenan’s belief that putting anything in a refrigerator will keep it from growing old. The refrigerator is like a time stop for him, and once that door closes and the little light goes off, all bets regarding the conventional aging process are off.
It was early in the morning and I was going to pour myself some juice when I spotted a small orange disk on one of the refrigerator shelves. Upon first glance with morning vision, it looked like a casino chip. But as I inspected closer, it became clear the object was of natural composition.
I picked it up and tapped it against the counter, the consistency something like that of silly putty. It was shriveled and dark as I held it up to the light, still confounded as to just what it was, when Keenan then came walking by and snatched the chip out of my hand. “I’d been looking for that carrot” he said, depositing the round disk beneath his jaws. You would have heard a louder crunch biting into a raw hotdog.
“That is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen” I told him.
“What?” he said. “Tastes good.”
Our refrigerator is regularly cleaned out by the maids which allows it to maintain a decent public appearance. But it is packed oftentimes, thanks to Keenan, with things that simply don’t belong there. “Does anyone know what the potato chips are doing in the fridge?” I’d ask out loud. “Or the canned vegetables? Why are there boxes of flour and pancake mix in the refrigerator?”
“Hey! What are you doing?” he once asked as I was about to throw out a bundle of bananas that had aged to a brown, shriveled shellacking that actually reminded me of small boomerang rocks.
I don’t know if he simply considers it a place where no one will see, but Keenan’s small cache of goods in the refrigerator are bizarre. It’s as if, without some limitations, he’d store his favorite sandals in there with hope that they never become old. Slices of tomato are left to sit, uncovered, until someone with some common sense puts them in the trash where they belong.
On occasion, he’ll make himself salad which is generally composed of anything he can find. The salad will sit there, in a large dogbowl-like vessel for days upon end; occasionally making an appearance on the kitchen counter where he’ll shovel several large spoonfuls into his mouth. Old food doesn’t seem to faze Keenan and while some may consider it an ill-mannered habit, I take comfort that at least, he doesn’t inflict it upon anyone else.