The Lost Humour Columns

Mr Fix-It

So now I’m all moved in to my new flat here in London.  As we covered in my last column, moving out is always a process.  Moving in also comes with its share of trials, tribulations, and adjustments.

Basically the second I moved in I began demanding that my poor long-suffering flatmate began fixing everything.  First it was the shower.  We have one of those hoses that converts an ordinary bathtub into a shower with a wall-mounted holder for the shower head.  This was broken, culminating in me trying to wedge the shower head in place using my scalp so it wouldn’t fall on me.  Alas this strategy was a total failure, resulting in some bruised toes as well as a complete lack of ability to reach any shower accoutrements like soap and shampoo and such while jammed in an unsustainably awkward position.  I didn’t dare ask how he’d been managing to shower before I moved in.

I then discovered that two of the freezer compartments are completely unusable because they are frozen shut.  After much jostling, pulling, attacking ice with a knife, and cursing profusely, I realized this was a task I couldn’t complete alone.  I then decided to make some microwave popcorn to cheer myself up and it was only at this juncture I realized we don’t currently own a microwave.

Plenty of people can live without a microwave, ranging from culinary geniuses who spurn such lazy cooking tools to those who are capable of error whilst boiling water and flee in terror from the unnatural kitchen magic.  I, however, do not count myself among either camp.  This is because I essentially live off leftovers.  I haven’t lived here that long, so haven’t had time to accumulate the portions of half-eaten meals in Tupperware pyramids that usually take up my shelf on the fridge, but normally at least a part of every meal I eat is recycled from a previous incarnation as something else.  (Unless I’m having people over.  That’s just cheap.)

Anyway, I’d only been living here for a day before I started bombarding my roommate with a list of things that needed altered or mended.  He’s been very gracious about it, but I can just about detect that look in his eyes that all men get when they’ve been living alone for a while, merrily chugging along while small appliances and other aspects of their home begin to break down and fail around them.  They’ll live like this happily until somebody else moves in, has a look around and says something on the order of, “How have you been living like this, man?”

I know it wasn’t always like this, because normally my flatmate’s girlfriend lives here too.  She’s currently away teaching in Romania, which is why there was space for me to move into the flat.  Not in their room, I hasten to add.  I only said it that way for (admittedly mild) comic effect; normally I explain these circumstances in such a way that there can be no confusion about this, because I am a complete prude.

I know this because I frequently come home late at night, shortly before the last Tube is due.  And who else is in the Tube shortly before the last tube is due, besides pickpockets and marauders?  Couples trying to spend the absolute most amount of time that they can together before heading off in opposite directions on public transport.  And when I say ‘spend time together’ what I obviously mean is ‘kiss as sloppily as possible’.  I don’t know about you, but personally I have a nearly irresistible urge to run up and kick them in the back of the shins.  Or at least mutter something barely audible about having a sense of public decency and the declining state of morality among the youth.  Though knowing me, kicking is way more likely.

Back to forcing my flatmate to fix everything: luckily I have a surefire insurance policy for getting my own way in the flat all the time.  My current housemate is the son of the woman I used to rent a room from when I was living in Exeter, so we can always gang up on him should the need arise.

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