Friday, July 15, 2011

The sky is falling

This morning while getting ready to leave, a chunk of our bathroom ceiling fell off, landed on my head and burst into a million little pieces of plaster, which I then had to sweep up with a whisk broom as fast as possible in order to avoid arriving hideously late to work. So now there’s a big hole in the ceiling, which kind of takes the polish off the classy Parisian apartment look we had going. Sadly, the bathroom head trauma failed to spark any visions of flux capacitor-like inventions; only a very clear vision of moving.

I have previously discussed the phenomenon of thin walls in Paris. As it turns out, Parisian apartments have another thing in common: humidity. But whereas thin walls are really no big deal—they’re kind of endearing, actually; an inoffensive little fault—humidity is not endearing at all. For whatever historical reason, a huge number of homes in Paris suffer from serious ventilation issues, especially in the room where bathing goes on. This latent dampness always, always draws mildew, mold and all kinds of other nasties that should by all rights figure as illegal and intolerable in every standard rental contract. My first place in Paris, located in a fairly low-rent district (hey, we all have to get our start somewhere), was a formidable introduction to the wide world of Parisian bathroom moisture. Try as I might, it was a losing battle, which reached its climax the day I found a mushroom—a MUSHROOM—poking out between two loose shower tiles.

And as this morning’s Chicken Little episode demonstrates, evil bathroom dew is not limited to shabby pads. Upon moving into our current apartment, G. and I were told by the rental agency representing our landlord that an anti-humidity fan would be installed in our bathroom window. Ha ha—a little realtor humor! Turns out the fan was rendered impossible by our “non-standard window size.” What does that even mean? It’s a rectangle, and a pretty standard-looking one at that. I ask you: what is it with Parisians and fans?! The ensuing surplus of humidity and its fungal consequences came as a surprise to no one, especially not to me, a Mold War veteran. Stated another way, it kind of looks like a biological experiment is taking place, right there, on our ceiling. Either that or a bizarre tribute to Jackson Pollock.

Frighteningly accurate.

The effect is quite surprising, especially since one doesn’t expect to see such a thing inside an apartment as otherwise sano as ours. If I may venture a metaphor, it’s kind of like what my brother calls the “butter face” syndrome, a curious term designating a woman with a body to die for ... but-her-face. Clever, I know. So basically, our home sweet home has been reduced to the architectural equivalent of a butter face. Well, I think it’s high time “she” had a bit of cosmetic surgery.

To be continued....

No comments:

Post a Comment