I wandered into the bathroom room yesterday morning to find another fine crop of mushrooms growing on my floor. Okay, so I don’t know if they’re exactly mushrooms, but they’re a fungus of some sort. They sprout up between my baseboard and tile floor. This isn’t just a rainy season thing, it happens all the time. See, my bathroom is conveniently located in a swamp. Something leaks, and every day I experience the joy wading through two inches of water to get to the toilet. Now, I know what you’re thinking. If I heard this story, I’d think the same thing. Something along the lines of, “Well, why don’t you shut up and fix that?” I would but for the fact that I’m not the actual owner of the swamp/bathroom. I technically am not in charge of any repairs or fungus colonies that show up, the landlord is. Too bad my landlord is less than enthusiastic about any sort of repairs or dealings that have to do with the property.
I live in what housing experts would call, “a total shithole.” I wish there was some way to sugar-coat this, but there isn’t. When I went on the walk-through for this fine piece of real estate, the landlord assured me that all repairs and finishing work would be done. I pointed out, with some trepidation, that I was supposed to get the keys in two weeks, and that didn’t seem to be enough time to paint the place, install the range hood, mount gutters, paint the outside, seal the showers, caulk the windows, do something about the two inch gap between the front door and the floor, landscape, install a dryer vent, replace the toilet seat that dumps you into the bowl when seated, and clean the place up. He apparently figured out the same thing, because by the time I moved in, he failed to do any of those things. By that time it was too late to try to get another place, and I didn’t have any other options. It’s not like I can do these things myself either. My experience with tools pretty much involves picking up a screwdriver, acknowledging that is a screwdriver, and putting it back in the toolbox. Now, I have mushrooms growing in the bathroom.
The shower leaks. I don’t know where from, but there’s always a gigantic puddle on the floor. We have a second bathroom, but there’s no caulking or sealant in that one. The landlord told me to, “Just go ahead and use it, it’ll be fine. I’m not worried about it.” Of course he’s not worried about it—he doesn’t have to live here. I’ll be the one stuck with the mold and rotting drywall. Oh well, at least it will match the moldy, peeling drywall around the windows where he failed to seal the window frames properly. To make matters worse is the toilet situation. The swamp bathroom has a toilet that is safe to use for all members of the family. The non-sealed bathroom has a wobbly toilet seat that tends to dump the user into the bowl during every sit-down job. Of course, I have to think about the convenience of this. I mean, maybe the landlord actually thought that if you can’t use the shower, you should at least have the option of a bracing and refreshing dip in the toilet before heading off to work. Then there’s the final insult: the mushrooms. It’s bad enough being afraid to plug anything in on the off chance that I might fry myself, I have to see fungus actually growing from my baseboards and floor. I’m not joking about this, but if I see a giant caterpillar sitting on one smoking a hookah, I’m going to move out and join AA immediately. I’ll live in a cardboard box instead, thank you very much.
My friends tell me to always look on the bright side, so I’m trying to do this. Since I can’t find a job (even though the media insists the economy is fan-freaking-tastic), I figure I’ll supplement my income by harvesting the mushrooms and selling them at the local farmers’ market. I’ll tell people they’re a variety of chanterelles or something. Better yet, I can make some real money by selling them as peyote or some other hallucinogen. I haven’t actually tried this to see if it works, but if it makes this shithole anymore livable or attractive, I think it could be worth shot. I’m picturing myself at my little tent now, “Try it, man, it’s totally the bomb. You like, see caterpillars smoking a hookah and shit.” Don’t they always say, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”? Well, life handed me mushrooms, and it’s time to make the best of it.