I would like to fix something in earnest if possible. The things around my house, from the tap to the mattress frame, the burned out light bulbs no one has bothered to throw away, broken thermal fuses and half used cleaning supplies, all speak to an intrinsic nature when we are aware of our own temporary residency in a place. Though the guys I share my rent with are less than temporary, bordering on two years now.
Our feet take on the feeling of limescale from a clogged shower drain. The kitchen fan has clogged with grease, and now there’s something in the air. There’s a quiet dust that’s left on textbooks belonging to the guy who rented here before me. It now occupies the low spaces of my chest from months of quiet breathing before the rent is due again.
Sure, I could take the better part of the week and get some American beer from the shop and drench the damp in bleach. My maintenance is usually late at night, with all the windows open so that the quiet of South Dublin might come in through every possible propped opening. But a week later, and the house is back to the same. The piles, the excess and overflow begin to gather in corner congresses of dust and damp.
We’re quiet for the most part in our small cottage tucked away behind Georgian town houses and the high fences that outline the end of someone’s garden and the start of our brush pile. A fox lives in it I think. I see him sometimes early in the morning, and he comes and goes as he pleases in a tightrope walk atop the fence line.
Last Thursday I fixed the shower drain and I no longer sand in an inch of water in the morning. Now my socks feel like clean wool again when I put them on, familiar and felted by too many dry cycles. The memory of hard water and soap scum lives in dark shadows on the enamel of the bath. We are still quiet, and no one said anything of the clog or my maintenance. There was no need. As fruit ripens on the kitchen counter, and crumbs pile and burn against the heating elements of the toaster, and the damp lessens in the light humidity of spring, there is no need to fix anything at all.