Saturday, October 8, 2005

The Opposite End of the Chick Magnet

I'm Stuck in Louisville for a couple days, before heading to Cleveland tomorrow to fly for the week.

I keep an apartment in Louisville with four other guys. None of us lives here, but we spend so much time here for work that we set up a crash pad to save on hotel costs. The apartment itself is a crumbling rathole, but it's in a fantastic part of town. We're right next to a huge Frederick Law Olmstead-designed park, and within walking distance of a bajillion cool restaurants and shops and coffee houses and movie theaters; the whole area is a progressive contrast to the "Old South" spin of much of the rest of Louisville (the city prides itself on being the Northernmost point of The South. Indianapolis, 100 miles North, feels very different).

But the apartment. It's a converted garage (in a feat of supreme optimism, it said "carriage house" in the for-rent ad in the local paper) for a 150-year-old house in the "old money" part of Louisville. Like the Lord of the Flies, five middle-aged guys living in an apartment exposes some very basic truths about humanity. Or at least about maleness. A Nordic Track ski machine sits where the dining room ought to be, usually draped with somebody's moist running clothes. The walls are covered with cockpit study diagrams for three different airplanes. A tired '70s Goodwill sofa squats before a dust-covered X-Box and ancient television. Another ratty chair and a plastic outdoor lawn chair complete the living room ensemble. In the kitchen (it's all actually one room), a wobbly card table with two chairs gives the illusion of a hovering mound of godknowswhat, but for the small bulldozed clearing at one of the chairs where a bowl of cereal can sit (and clearly has many times). The blinds are permanently drawn, and the bedroom windows upstairs have dark blankets, "blackout curtains," nailed up over them (since we sleep at very strange hours).

My wife comes down to visit a few times per year (when I know I'll be in town for my work week) and the crash pad "housekeeping" is a source of profound distress to her. She nearly insisted last time that we go to a hotel because of the kitchen floor. She will only use the bathroom at night and with the light off. She wears shoes in the shower. She has been bitching about the same immense cobweb in a corner of the ceiling of my bedroom now for four years. (Come on, lady! Get over it!)(There are cobwebs in two other bedroom ceiling corners as well, but they're not so spectacular.) The landlord, who lives in the main house on the property, came in for a visit a few months back and decided that cleaning the carpeting was simply not realistic. We're now studiously at work degrading the new carpeting. A similar approach to the bathroom was probably warranted before we moved in. I leave its current condition, four years later, to your vivid imaginations.

The only decoration in the whole place is a collection of Chinese restaurant calendars and two seasons of baseball game tickets stubs stuck on a nail in the kitchen. Oh yeah, and a framed photo of my 1981 Cadillac Piece-O-Shit airport car being winched onto a flatbed truck a couple years ago for its trip to the crusher. Ah, good times. We prefer to leave the decorating to Mother Nature (see the cobweb comment above). We had a female roommate for a while a couple years back (she immortalized that Cadillac Moment), but when her girlfriends started to refuse to come into the apartment she moved out and has not spoken to any of us since.

What's up with that?


Lizzie said...

Ah, reminds me of an apartment I shared in France with 3 permanent roommates and dozens of various "overnight guests" who for all intents and purposes lived on our couch or on our floor. We actually had a couple of mushrooms growing in our bathroom. I don't know, does fungus trump cobwebs? In a drunken stupor a friend pissed my bed and, for lack of any better place to put it, we kept the mattress in the middle of the living room to dry out for a few weeks. Looking back on it now, I can't believe I made it out of that place without contracting salmonella or some other fungus/pissed-on-mattress borne disease. Man, we had fun though.

wunelle said...

Yeah, but at least you had France going for you! I'm afraid I'm going to emerge from this place one of these days with a confederate flag sticker on my car. Then I'd have to go to Oregon where someone could legally help me to shoot myself!

Joshua said...

My first bachelor pad was very much the same. You forgot to mention the dirty dishes in the oven a classic way to hide a mess without actually cleaning it.

I guess, though, that would mean women would have to come over. otherwise, what would be the point of hiding the mess at all?


shrimplate said...

A friend of mine once that that "there's no such thing as cleaning. You're just moving dirt."