A beige cream with leg hairs

I stepped out of the john after a quick tinkle, and Robert was in the kitchen, making hisself something for a late dinner.

We said hello, he cracked a 5-second joke, and I laughed, gave him a 5-second retort, and he laughed. Then I walked into my room and closed the door without even saying good night.

That is how flatmates should interact, when passing each other in the house. That's the way it always is with Robert, or even with 'L', the mysterious, somewhat paranoid pot-head flatmate I've seen only a dozen times in the past year.

It's never that way with Dean, though. If I run into Dean in the hallway or in the kitchen, he wants a damned conversation, every damned time. 

♦ ♦ ♦   

Dean is not obviously wrong in the head, but he's absolutely wrong in the head. His mental un-wellness, though, is so subtle that it took half a year to suspect it, and a few more months to know it. 

For one thing, he never shuts up about cooking, but he's not a very good cook. For another thing, he simply never shuts up.

Towering over all my other complaints about Dean is the toilet seat. I have written of it only once before, but encountered it countless times, and it's disgusting. 

And it goes without saying that I'm disgusting — my room's a mess like my head, most of my underwear has skid marks, I only take out the trash when it starts to stink, etc. I'm kind of a repulsive old man.

It's only lack of effort, though. I'm usually not trying to be disgusting, and even when I've tried, I could never top Dean and the toilet seat.

He's a lotion and scents guy, always marinated in oil, and he carries a toxic waste dump's collection of hair care and skin care products with him when he's headed for a shower. As part of his daily regimen, he rubs some cream or ointment onto his legs, and he must scoop it on like guacamole on chips.

And eventually he shits, sitting on the toilet we all share.

When he's done, he's left behind the obvious imprint of his legs, and, to a lesser extent, his butt, on the toilet seat, in a beige cream that always has leg hairs in it, and sometimes contains other flotsam of his life. He's left this residue on the seat so many times, always with hairs in it, I don't understand how his legs aren't bald.

At least a few times weekly, I come into the bathroom, needing to sit and shit, and if Robert was the previous person to use the toilet, that's all I do — sit and shit.

But if Dean was the previous pooper, I sigh and curse, because the seat is covered with cream and little leg hairs. If the remnant of Dean is fresh, it takes ten seconds to scrub the seat clean enough to sit on. If the evidence has dried, cleaning it takes thirty seconds of serious, vigorous scrubbing. Long task or short, it's disgusting.

I've spoken of it twice to Dean, and the second time I got loud, but complaining is pointless. He hears, he nods, he answers, he even apologizes, but he does not understand and does not remember. He is Chauncey Gardner, with cream on his legs. 

♦ ♦ ♦   

Just one more tale of Dean, and then I'll let it go (for today, anyway).

When I came home from work a few nights ago, Dean was in the kitchen cooking, and Robert was there, too, talking with him.

I like Robert, but when he and Dean get to talking, it's usually a long conversation, and I never want to be there, so I decided my dinner could wait a while. Into my room I went, and closed the door. (Oh, how I love closing the door.)

45 minutes later, their conversation had faded to silence, so they'd gone to their separate rooms, right? Now it's my turn at the kitchen, to make myself something to eat.

When I opened the door, though, Dean was still in the kitchen, sitting alone at the table, with a glass of wine, reading a book.

Of course, soon as I'd opened the door he closed his book and started talking at me. Also of course, I mentally sealed my ears and ignored him. 

I'd planned on a six-minute microwave meal, but as Dean droned on about his day at the restaurant, I asked myself, What's the quickest dinner I could make, to get out of the kitchen and away from him? 

Answer: a pepperoni & feta salad. As I opened the plastic containers of lettuce, pepperoni, and feta, I looked around the kitchen, and realized that Dean wasn't cooking.

His bowl and silver were in the sink, so he'd finished eating. His leftover stew was on the cold stovetop, where whatever he's cooked always sits until the next morning, when he puts the pot in the fridge, un-lidded. 

He was simply chilling with a Chablis in the kitchen. And perhaps after dinner you'd sip a glass of wine and read a book in your kitchen, but ours is a shared kitchen. It's for cooking and eating, and then leaving.

There's not literally a rule about this, but it's common sense in a boarding house. If you're loitering with a glass of wine at the table, you've deprived me of my inalienable right to be alone in the kitchen.

"There's an empty living room twenty steps away," I said, "with a comfortable couch and a lamp and an end table — the perfect place to sit and drink your wine," but why did I even say it? 

Dean heard me out, nodded, and then offered me a glass of wine and launched into another story of being assistant chef at wherever he works.

I shook my head no to the wine and the man, took my salad into my room, and daydreamed of getting away with murder.


No comments:

Post a Comment

The site's software sometimes swallows comments. For less frustration, send an email and I'll post it as a comment.