I would suppose a significant number of people die with dirty dishes sitting in the sink. They just didn’t get to ‘em before that old, immovable, specter of death came a house calling. This occurred to me while doing the dishes of course. See, we don’t have a machine washer or a trust fund or a rich patron who paves our road of life smooth to the wheel. To keep the lights on, dogs fed and our separate interests moving forward and expanding — she digs lizards, I paint… that shit costs bread — we’re forced to work the 9 to 5, like Dolly so put it, along with a few side hustles to keep water from taking over the deck, with this column being one of ‘em. This all helps keep the operations fully functional, and fully functional is how you gotta keep those operations.
So sometimes the dirty dishes… well, they get stacked, sidelined and ignored, and what I was working on was a real tower of Babel. A grotesque collection of plates, pans and bowls with spoons, forks and knives of all shapes and sizes caked and jutting out everywhere, along with a French press so foul I just pitched it. It was a gantlet of gross that would send Withnail into a fury of drunken procrastination from which he would never recover, and yet this kitchen disaster was the least of my worries.
Pestering my thoughts and looming over me was flood damage.
Flood damage, ya’ see, is a real sharpshooting cuss that knows how to stick it right where you don’t need it and right when you can’t afford to accept it, but “fuck you,” says the storm, as it comes riding into your life to plunder and batter your meek existence. Way back when, Mattel had a He-Man action figure whose breastplate, by a flick of the finger, would roll out various degrees of damage. Our bathroom ceiling, thanks to the fuckin’ rain, went through all three degrees of that damage and then added a bonus round and collapsed into the tub.
Louisville weather — it’s bad to the bone marrow and has never made a lick of sense in my entire time living here. It’s absurd, our weather conditions, frolicking chaos flying on a malicious wind. Flooding is the polar opposite of fire — for the most part you don’t flee, nor do you really battle it out… you have little choice to do anything other than hunker down and sit there and watch it all unfold, a great unfolding of damp desperation.
“There goes the ceiling, down into the tub,” you say, as house and home becomes swampland. Basements become indoor swimming pools, yards shift into mudslides or mindless pits of slosh containing god knows what, and the rain just keeps pouring down, an unstoppable force within its duration that sometimes feels like it could last a decade.
“I need to take a shower, I gotta be at work tomorrow, what the fuck am I gonna do?” Shelby was standing inside the bathroom doorway, peering into the tub that was filled with wet plaster and bits of insulation. “I read somewhere Brad Pitt doesn’t take showers, or baths. He just wipes himself down with a warm rag. Do that!” I said.
“What are you talking about, that’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard. Brad Pitt doesn’t shower?” she said.
“It’s true: He doesn’t shower. He doesn’t believe in them!” I protested.
“Well go then. I guess I’m gonna Brad-Pitt it then!” she said as she began pulling a washcloth out of the closet, “This is insane, what are we gonna do?”
I didn’t answer because it was precisely an answer I didn’t have. How would we pay for this was and still is a mystery, and it was this mystery I placed on the back burner the next day to instead conquer the dishes… the dishes. I could do them, get ‘em knocked out and try to suss out inside my head all I was gonna need, and all the people I was gonna have to call, to make that ceiling whole again, and the roof above it sealed tight like a dolphin’s butthole, and with the quickness, ‘cause you never know what’s gonna come out of the sky in this city.