Posted by David
on Jun 21, 2004 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
Yesterday, the unthinkable happened; Faustus came to visit me in Baltimore. Notice that was a semicolon and not a colon: one of the previous phrases doesn’t modify the other. Faustus’s visit was not the unthinkable experience, but it made the unthinkable experience even more unthinkable by adding a cup of sheer embarrassment to the recipe.
Picture it: Sunday morning. Rob awakened me early to inform me that the drain in the basement, which has been regularly overflowing in minor gurgles since we moved in, had suddenly erupted with enough water and raw sewage to cover the floor. Horrified, I ran to the store to buy gallons of bleach, Liquid Plumr, and other cleaning supplies—but no sooner did I coax the raw sewage into a quivering pile than several more gallons of water burst out of the hole in the floor, redistributing my hard work to the four corners of the room.
Believe me, the reality was infinitely worse than the sanitized description you’re reading here. Seeing that I had no hope of containing the disaster, I ran and called Roto-Rooter, who sent over an extremely nice and helpful plumber almost immediately. Once he was on the job, I retreated upstairs and read the new Pottery Barn catalog from cover to cover, hoping to materialize in a beautiful world where houses exist in a pristine state without people or the terrors of fecal matter.
The plumber, while masterful at his job, was also extremely slow in performing it, and I watched in horror as the minutes ticked by and the arrival time of Faustus’s bus approached. Leaving Rob at home and praying that both the plumber and the sewage would be gone when I returned, I zipped across town to pick up Faustus; his boyfriend, E.S.; and his dog, A.
Long story short, I spent quite a bit of time away from my guests scrubbing the basement floor with bleach and spraying air freshener.
Luckily, they were understanding, but I can’t help but feel that I was being punished by the gods for my warped eagerness to demonstrate that civilized life does exist away from Manhattan.
“No, it doesn’t!” said the gods. In the old days, those gods used to send humanity messages in the entrails of ritually slaughtered livestock, but it appears that somewhere along the line, they decided that shit was both more convenient and infinitely more persuasive.
Update: I’m not supposed to tell you about how Faustus tried to walk through the screen door at my parents’ house in front of twenty amused witnesses. (The screen door was closed at the time . . . if it had been open, the witnesses would not have been nearly as amused.)