"It was working..... before"
19.03.2010 11 °C
If my memory doesn’t fail me, I’m fairly certain Joan Collins and her Dynasty gals lived in the lap of 1980s luxury.
- Black lacquer furniture
- Mirrors galore
- Mauve and teal color combinations
- Pastels pastels pastels!
- Turquoise lacquered kitchen cabinets
- Black and white tiled floors
- Glass top tables
- Hope for economic betterment through inspirational color palettes
Lucky for me, I also live in this lap of luxury.
At least, I thought I did. Until a few weeks ago, when the smoke finally dissipated and I was left staring at my haggard, sweaty reflection in one of a dozen cracked mirrors, surrounded by dusty lilac curtains, a self-imploded dishwasher, a flooded bathroom, a broken refrigerator, llimp greasy hair, and a washing machine that opens with a fork. It was not the best of times. It was the worst of times.
And it was only the beginning.
This building, it’s old. When you first walk in, a fresh gust of mouldy air sweeps you right off your feet. A little off putting at first, yes, but you get used to it. After a while, it starts to smell like home. The apartment, though slightly dusty, is imbued with the 80s charm I described above – and we’ve added a couple homey touches here and there. Like the portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic, purveyor of a secular Turkey and now quietly watching over us above our shiny black sofa. The marble dog standing guard near the kitchen now wears a festive gold party hat and some cool black shades. We’ve really made this place our own.
Unfortunately, others have made it their own as well. For the past few weeks, my alarm has been accompanied by the cooing of pigeons just outside my bathroom window. This window actually gives way to an air shaft in the center of the building, allowing me to do so some quality eavesdropping on the neighbours while sitting on the loo.
This also means that I can clearly hear the pigeons roosting and pecking about, especially in the mornings. This past Saturday, the pigeons appeared to be exceptionally feisty. So feisty in fact, that the metal lath ceiling in my bathroom was quivering from the action. Curiously, the noise no longer seemed to be located in the air shaft. No. It was coming from inside my very own bathroom. Now how could a pigeon be inside my ceiling? That makes no sense!
Feeling intrepid, broomstick in hand, I dove right in. Pigeons beware!
I poked around the ceiling in vain, afraid of what might happen if I tried too hard. This was an exploratory mission, and I was no Indiana Jones. So I poked around feebly until it hit me. I was standing directly beneath a quivering ceiling with a distinct scratching noise coming from above. Hm. At first I thought, what a wacky pigeon! But this was no pigeon. There was no flapping of wings here. There was no gentle cooing. No. There was definite scurrying up there. There was scratching and nibbling where no scratching or nibbling should be. This was much worse than anticipated. Puzzled, (and scared), I rested my neck and looked below.
And that’s when I saw it.
Poo. Poo poo poo. Multiple pellets of it too.
Rodent poo in my shower. Rodent poo on the floor. Rodent poo in my sink!
Things had gone from bad to reeeeeally bad. Instantly forgetting my initial bravado, I recoiled from the crime scene in fear, whimpering loudly, hopping from foot to foot, and wishing badly to be curled in a ball on the floor somewhere far away. But I couldn’t curl into a ball in the floor, because the rodents might get me. Dang it. The 1980s illusion of luxury had finally worn off. This was no palace!
After stretching my tentacles out in all possible ways, the landlord’s ‘go-to-guy’, Recep, finally came over. Here’s the thing though: after finding two large-ish holes in the wall of the air shaft leading to my ceiling, Recep felt the best way to close these holes was with tightly balled up newspaper. Newspaper! Yes he put some poison. But rodents eat newspaper for lunch! AND dinner! Furthermore, Recep did not clean out the lath ceiling, and my bathroom continues to smell like a giant kitty litter box. Though I can understand his reluctance, I have been unable to use my shower since, for fear of raining poo pellets.
PS: Although Recep is not an expert on the matter, he was able to confirm the identity of my new roommates according to the size of their poo pellets. (Poo is so revealing!). Just to make sure we’re clear: these rodents were not cute fluffy white mice. Or slightly uglier (thought still small) grey mice. These were rats. Big ugly brown rats (all rats are brown aren't they? And ugly.)
I have rats in my apartment.
The height of luxury living, brought to you live from the heart of Istanbul. Stay tuned!
PPS: I'm sorry for having used the word 'poo' so many times. Next time I'll use a thesaurus