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Kate Langbroek Reveals the Man Who Caused Her Years of Pain

Originally published in Stella on 28th May 2017

LIKE most feminists, I hate men. Actually, even though writing that sentence gave me the most immense pleasure, it’s not, strictly speaking, true. I don’t hate all men.

I hate one. I hate a man.

To be honest, I don’t actually know for sure that he is a man. I mean, I’m pretty certain he is. And I’m so blinded by hatred, I don’t have time to get bogged down in the details. I just hate him, you know. As in loathe. Despise.

There are many reasons for this. I mean, he’s a massive idiot. But heaps of people are, and I don’t hate them. And his limited competence wouldn’t matter so much if he a) hadn’t been given a position of authority in a large company, or b) hadn’t messed with me. In my own house.

Yep. Village idiot has infiltrated the sanctity of my home and caused me nothing but grief. And he’s done it through my kitchen. My fridge, to be precise.

See, about 10 years ago, when we first moved into our house and were about to buy our first grown-up, ice-making fridge, it turned out the cavity designed for it was too narrow blah, blah, blah. (Sorry, lost interest in my own renovating story.) Basically there were only two models that would fit – and they were both madly expensive.

We went with the one the salesman recommended. It’s an American company, he said. Their fridges last for years. And we assured him it would have to, because it cost the same as a second-hand car.

Of course, the ice-dispenser broke after about six months. That was disappointing, but the fridge was plumbed in and still made ice, so we’d just scoop it out with our hands when we wanted it.

But that wasn’t the problem. No. The problem was inside the fridge. Specifically with the buffoon who designed its interior. See, when you open the door, the top few shelves inside it are covered by another clear plastic door – presumably to stop things flying out as you open it. And yet, knowing this basic law of physics, they made the shelves inside shallow, with no lip, so that any time you wrench the plastic-door-within-the-door to access THE STUFF YOU WANT TO USE, it falls out and shatters on the floor.

This is, at minimum, a weekly occurrence. Missiles include: jars of horseradish cream, mustard, jalapeños, capers, pizza sauce, curry paste and pesto. As well as shattering and spraying their contents all over the floor, they often hit us on the foot.

I have rejigged the fridge, hoping heftier items will stay put, but this just means I’ve also been splattered with yoghurt, cream, cottage cheese, chicken curry, bolognese, spanakopita filling and soup. More than once, I’ve had a kilo-block of Coon land on my foot.

So. I hate that guy. I’ve actually dreamt of hunting him down at the Maytag factory and inviting him over for dinner so he can see his “one job” in action. Then, when he arrives, I will pelt him with food and bash his foot with cans of food, like that demented chick out of Misery.

After all, they say to keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

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