There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by since I’ve lived in this apartment when the thought “Hmm….that seems kind of dangerous. I might die because of this…” hasn’t passed through my mind. That’s not to say that I’m over here dwelling on death or ways to die, it’s just that, to put it bluntly, I kind of sort of live in a death trap. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. Other than my parents’ house, this is the place that I’ve lived the longest. I’m comfortable here.
I’m also sure that I’m living in my coffin.
Let me put it another way: Besides the obvious lack of maternal instincts (other than the ones that come quite naturally to me when in reference to Yadi), and the total lack of interest, because of my home, I would never be allowed to foster a child (I must re-iterate here how my dwelling is but a minor part of this equation) This place would never pass the rigid inspection needed to allow it. I’m not even sure this place would pass the city inspection to avoid condemnation.
So I’d like to take you on a tour of my home and the many ways I could die in it. This is a verbal tour so if you haven’t been here, you must use your imagination. Hopefully I will paint a picture that will allow even the weakest of the creative minds to envision it.
Before we even enter the giant ugly red brick building which I call home, we must go up steps that are crumbling, cracking and eroding away. The landlord’s solution to fixing these is to shovel some Sakrete into the holes and crevices and barely smooth them over with what I can only guess is a jagged piece of glass. This is not even the biggest problem with the steps. I can’t even begin to recount the times that I have fallen down (or more often up) the front steps. I thought I was just getting clumsy (clumsier) in my old age until a friend pointed out that the one step in the middle is not the same height, so when I’m taking my natural strides, expecting the steps to be basically the same size (how dare I think this) they in fact, are not. This, along with my natural lack of grace in movement, causes me to trip at least once a week.
One day, I might be going up (or down) the steps with a sharp object (maybe picking up the jagged piece of glass that was used to even out the Sakrete) and fall on the uneven step, thereby impaling myself on the piece of glass that was supposed to have remedied the situation in the first place. Ironic Death.
I have some pretty mirrors from IKEA on the wall behind my couch. This is also the same wall I share with the upstairs neighbors’ stairs. It behooves me to mention here that they do not come and go like normal neighbors. They travel like a herd of buffalo stampeding everywhere they go. This causes my mirrors to shake on their wall anchors.
One day, I might be sitting on my couch, watching a stirring and emotional episode of Good Times when suddenly, the buffalo herd decides to go the grocery store. I could be sitting there eating Cheetos, totally unaware of the impending death I will suffer when the mirrors come crashing down on my head and the shards embed themselves through the still-soft parts of my skull. Good news is that because of this death, the landlord will now have more jagged glass with which to perfect his masonry skills.
The electrical outlets in my house are less than reliable. If ever I am in need of entertainment after dinner, all I must do is plug or unplug something in any one of the wall outlets in this apartment. Every time I plug something in, sparks and flames shoot out from the socket. This can’t be right.
One day, I could be trying to do my weekly vacuuming, go to plug my Dirt Devil in and the next thing you know, I’m a charred piece of jerky lying on the floor in a puddle of my own urine (Because although I have no proof that this is what happens, I am sure that when you are electrocuted you lose control of your bladder.) And of course, being smoked meat, I will smell delicious and the next thing you know, you see my big ugly apartment on the five o’clock news because, after my horrible and grilling death, every channel will be telling the story of how a normally mild-mannered, yet Be dog ate it’s owner’s face off because it smelled like Beggin’ Strips.
For a while, you could go in any room of the house, turn on the lights and find giant water bugs everywhere. At first I thought they were roaches and I was appalled because I am nothing if not a OCD housekeeper. But after many hours or looking at pictures of bugs online and having conversations with St. Louis natives, I found that these were just old-fashioned water bugs. What I discovered on my own was that if you don’t have bug spray handy or you panic and grab the first thing from underneath the sink with which to spray them, water bugs will die a slow and seemingly painful death when doused generously with Kitchen 409. Sidenote: They will also lose control of their bowels. This might be where I got it in my head that everything loses control of bodily functions at any given time.
One day, I might be sound asleep in my bed (why I’m sleeping soundly during the day I don’t know. Just go with me on this one) and the water bugs might decide to mutiny. They will all come up the steps of the basement, probably singing that “oh ee oh” song from the Wizard of Oz in a little platoon and attack me. They could embed themselves in my brain by going through my ear or nostril or any other orifice. Someone will find me, bugs crawling out of my empty eye sockets, lying in my bed. Death by water bug.
We’ve got a couple more rooms and the basement. Stay with me.
I may have mentioned my fears of the bathroom before. Not the one where I’m convinced I’m going to find a dead body in a public bathroom stall or the one where I’m positive that some night I’m going to get up to go pee and there’s going to be a snake coiled in the toilet bowl and because I’m not fully awake and unaccustomed to checking toilet snakes, I will sit down and he will bite my nether regions and I will die either from the venom or from fear or a combination of both. No, this fear is probably more realistic. Every time I take a shower, because I have seen the rotting floor beneath it, I am quite positive that it’s just a matter of time before I am showering, singing some Broadway show tune horribly off-key, when the floor finally rots away and the whole bathtub goes plummeting into the basement and I am found lying nekkid in a pile of ceramic rubble with various bottles of shower gel and shampoo strewn about my mangled body. If I’m lucky, it will be a quick death and the buffalo herd will not be doing their laundry in the basement at the same time. Nothing would be worse than dying nekkid in front of your neighbors as they’re sorting they’re unmentionables. Death by rotting floor.
The other fear I have is that I could be showering at the same time someone from the buffalo herd is showering and we all go crashing down because if my shower is leaking all over the floor, I’m positive that theirs is too. Also factoring in to my sureness of this is that I can see the ceiling becoming water-logged above my shower. It’s just a matter of time, people. Death by rotting ceiling causing nekkid neighbor to come crashing down on nekkid me, sending us both hurling into the basement.
Other than the fact that my back door opens directly into my bedroom, I don’t really have any fear (except for the water bug attack) of dying in my bedroom. Ironically, this will probably be where I will die because I am not expecting it.
This leads us to the basement. If possible I would avoid going into my basement at all costs but that’s where my washer and dryer are so once I run out of the 93 pairs of underwear I have, I am left with no choice but to go downstairs. To let you know how much I really hate going into the basement, I left the carcass of a dead mouse in a trap for at least two years because I didn’t want to go into the back of the basement to retrieve it. Also, I didn’t want to touch the carcass of a dead mouse. By the time I found him he was a shriveled little dried crunchy bit of mouse. The weird part is, when I went back to look at him again, the trap was there but the body was gone. Mouse body snatchers? I don’t know.
So I have to trudge down the rickety steps to the basement to do laundry. That part isn’t the worst part, although it’s scary in its own right. The more dangerous part is heading back up the steps with my center of balance off-kilter because I’m carrying a basket full of 92 pairs of underwear.
One day, I might be carrying my laundry back up the steps and not throw my weight forward enough and the next thing you know, I’m lying at the bottom of the steps in a heap, covered in my own clean underwear (save for the pair I’m wearing, because, again, I’m sure one would soil oneself when one realizes they are falling backwards to their death) Death by clean laundry.
Thank you for indulging me and coming on this journey with me. I’d ask you to stay the night but you might fall asleep on the couch when the buffaloes come home and I can’t in good faith, allow you to die by falling mirrors.