Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Talking to oneself

Continuing both the studenty and lavatorial themes of last week’s post, at university I briefly shared a flat with the chap who complained about being ‘tied to the toilet’.

It was the cheapest, dingiest, mouldiest basement flat in the western world. There was no central heating and in winter it was so cold that I slept in two jumpers, a dressing-gown and a woolly hat, and even at times resorted to laying towels on top of my sheets, duvets and blankets. There was a shower built in to an alcove under the stairs and the toilet was in a scarcely-converted back porch and therefore so preposterously cold that the innumerable slugs inhabiting it were probably stiff with ice (for all I know).

On the ground floor, above us, lived a man in late middle-age. He was hearing-impaired, though he spoke clearly and was not so deaf that he didn’t once complain that our music was shaking his floorboards (at that time we were heavily into Abbey Road, the second half of which I still regard as the high point of popular music, and for a few weeks we played it every night at terrible volume.) Our upstairs neighbour was a decent enough chap but alternately friendly (issuing indefinite, dateless invitations to come up and share a bottle of red, though he’d need advance warning so he could allow the wine ‘to breathe’) and sullen (which meant that we never felt inclined to accept these invitations).

I suspected he was lonely and going a bit mad. One day I was in the loo and I heard sounds from above of our neighbour in his loo. Gradually it became clear that he was talking aloud to himself while going about his business.

"Oh God, he's talking aloud to himself now," I said, aloud to myself.


Recusant said...

Oh frabjous days, I remember my version well - and with a shudder. (Note you didn't mention the quotidian contents of your sink. Usually a source of wonder and horror combined.)

The knowledge that that is probably as bad as it is going to get, in terms of living arrangements, makes the future immensely more bearable.

Peter said...

I wonder whether you could turn this theme into a sphinx riddle. What howls for attention in the morning, sings to itself at noon amd mutters too loudly in the evening?

Brit said...

A blogger?

worm said...

I think if there were no women in this world, we'ed all still be just be wearing our pants and living in caves. Although at least there probably wouldn't be Big Brother or Glee.

martpol said...

Oh god, slugs in the bathroom. In my third year I thought I'd finally landed on my feet, as four of us moved into a reasonablly nice house which actually had an extra en-suite bathroom downstairs. I won the toss of a coin, but along with it I won the slimy horrors.

Soon after we moved in the door handle broke off. We resigned ourselves to the fact that 'Imperial' Services would refuse to dispatch the requisite handyman, and each walked around with a torn-off piece of towelling which we would wrap around the razor-sharp metal stub to gain ingress.

Brit said...

Ahhh, student life. "Have you got your door-towel? I left mine in the Rat and Parrot..."