Wednesday, August 20

Entering the Forbidden Room

I emailed the landlord on Sunday night about the teenager’s abuse.

On Dan's suggestion, I also mentioned that our door was starting to lean off its hinges. It was a small meaningless issue and I hadn't even thought of raising it until Dan pointed it out. I'd screwed the hinges back on myself and, although the door was still slightly awkward to close, it was so minor an issue as to not even be worth mentioning. There were many other, much more important, issues I could have mentioned, like the intercom entry system to the apartment not working or the smell of Weed that hovers in our hallway, but I figured she know about these things already. And besides I’ve never met my landlady, having found the apartment through a letting agency, and have no particular desire to meet her now. For one thing I’d have to tidy up.

Imagine my annoyance then when, yesterday morning, I got a text message from her. "Hey Simon. Would it be alright if I come round about seven tonight to look at the door?"
Bugger. I forwarded the text to Dan, appending a footnote: "so we're tidying tonight then?"

Now, fortunately, Dan’s mum had been down the week before so the house was already reasonably tidy. All we had to do was Hoover, hide any stray underpants, and tackle the forbidden room.

The forbidden room lies behind a thick wooden door in our bedroom. There was a time, before the door was sealed and barred, when it was an ensuite bathroom, clean, pristine and with a beautiful power shower. Then one day the shower stopped working so well. And we started to notice that the walls had gotten damp. I bugged Dan to tell the landlord about it, that being his job in those days but he never seemed to get around to it and eventually, to save ourselves from having to think about it we shut the door and locked the damp away.

So with the imminent visit of the Landlady we faced a problem. What if the landlord decided to do a tour of the property when she came too look at our virtually undamaged door? What would she say when she opened the door to our ensuite and saw a new species of six foot fungus growing there. I can’t be sure, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to paste it here.
Drastic action was needed.

And so we rushed home, getting in about six, prised open the door and got immediately to work.The dirtiest sepia tone bathroom you ever did see
The next hour was a mass of arguments, dust, cobwebs and semi-nude cleaning. Walls were scrubbed, tiles wiped, mirrors polished and toilets flushed.

At five to seven, we found our clothes again, and sat down in front room, trying to look as if we had been idly waiting for her the whole time. The bathroom was as clean as it had ever been. The damp was still there, we couldn’t hide that, but that was hardly our fault. The important thing was that the room looked loved. We just might get away with it.

By 8.30 there was still no sign of the Landlady. We had Dinner, watched the Olympics, and then sat there to stare at the clock for a while. Finally at 8:50 my phone rang.

“Hi, Simon?” It was my Landlady.
“Hey ya. You ok? What happened?”
“Yes well, I turned up at seven to see you.”
“You did?”
“Yes," she said, "But I couldn’t get in. Your intercom system doesn’t appear to be working!”

And so ends our foray into the forbidden room. But join us again next time wont you, when the landlord comes to call...

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