ArtLex defines Horror Vacui as:
The compulsion to make marks in every space. Horror vacui is indicated by a crowded design. In Latin, it is literally, “fear of empty space” or “fear of emptiness.”
My mom has refigerator horror vacui. Every nook and cranny must be filled, even if the condiment or leftover is 4 years old. When I was a teenager, the only time leftovers would leave the family frig is when I would eject them into the trashcan before they evolved into sapient beings.
As an adult, I love a minimalist refigerator. Other than a few condiments, an onion or carrot or apple or two, I like to buy my food as I am going to cook it. I generally don’t keep leftovers past a day or two or three.
Whenever my mom comes to visit for longer than a day or two, the items in my frige multiply. And multiply and multiply, until one can’t get anything in. Last night Lauren and I looked in the refrigerator with horror as it was overflowing with food we didn’t recognize: a whole cooked chicken, fruit salad in a bag, a large container or milk (both of us are lactose intolerant), a case of beer, etc. etc. etc.
Here is the thing: my mom won’t be back to collect the food when she leaves to go home tomorrow. She will leave it. She will take Freckles and his dog accroutrements, she will take her clothes and towels, but she will leave the chicken, the milk, the beer, etc. whether we will eat it or not. These items will join the whey protein shake, the 2 or 3 jars of olives, the pickles, and other items she left last time or the time before.
She will leave happy, knowing that my refigerator is full.