Downey and Out


So long and thanks for all the fish.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

The extraction is complete: we are finally out of our apartment. We paid the final rent, we pulled up all the shelf paper, and we left for the last time. It is such a relief to have that completed.

There’s nothing quite like moving out of an apartment to realize just how disgusting life is. The shower curtain didn’t look dirty until I took it off the rod and realized it was so thickly scaled with residue that it looked like it had leprosy. The carpet didn’t look dirty until we moved all the major pieces of furniture and realized that it was a completely different color underneath. The walls were furred with cobwebs and cat hair. The shower was yellow with waxy scum. A swipe of a sponge across the counter tops turned the water black with… what exactly?

At night, when I shower, my feet leave black imprints on the floor of the tub. I keep a Magic Eraser in the shower stall to scrub away my footprints after bathing. Sometimes, even a generous, direct application of soap won’t get the blackness off my feet and I have to use the Magic Eraser on them too- which is not supposed to be good for the skin, but I figure that my callouses could probably handle a little sanding.

I find myself newly resolved to be better about my cleaning. The new don’t-leave-dishes-in-the-sink habit seems to have stuck, so now I’m adding a thorough wipe-down of kitchen surfaces to it as well. I’m not sure that I’ll ever truly be able to keep up with Teh Grossness, but I’m going to make an effort to try.

So now the last chapter of life is beginning to fall closed. How strange is the act of living: standing poised on the knife edge of the present with one foot stretched out over the oblivion of a moment not yet written as the past rolls up behind us. Life itself may be fleeting, but it sure leaves a lot of souvenirs. As I unpack boxes of files and knicknacks I find myself encountering things that I haven’t seen in years: correspondences dating back to my undergraduate years, tax files from my apartment in Chicago, projects that I started but never finished or finished but never threw out, or concepts for projects that I never started. Notebooks. Mementos. So many mementos. It might be time to condense and purge. Again. But that’s a project for tomorrow.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 3, 2016.

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