Thursday, January 11, 2007

He's a Super, Man

Home sick today. Read all of Peter Bagge's "Hate," a bday present from my Clinton Hill pal, an ex-Seattlite. Ate sparingly. Drowsed. Gave the Brita a workout. But all this laying about was good for getting out the vote. The mayoral bid is picking up steam.

In case you're not keeping up with the Zimses, I'm running for Mayor of My Apartment, in advance of Bloomberg's imminent run for the POTUS spot. Yesterday I got the endorsement of my bedside table and two pairs of shoes. The windows are still on the fence, but I see through them. They just want me to wash their backs. The magazines aren't organized, so they may never have a unified voice, but I have a back-channel plan to win over all the New Yorkers. I think the BusinessWeeks are looking for a more fiscally minded candidate. An early poll of the eggs in the fridge shows sentiment running high against me, so I ate two of them just to show how far I'll go when pushed. We'll see how they feel about me tomorrow morning. At breakfast time. Now that I have a new stove.

LordZim readers wouldn't know this, because for a mayoral candidate I've been a very slack little blogger, but my oven went down. Not sexually -- permanently. According to the mustachioed expert from Speedway Appliance, "mice chewed up the wiring." Mice! Now that would be a wily voting bloc. Happily, not one has ever shown its whiskery nose in my presence, so I bear them no personal animus.

Hey -- anagram alert. Animus = I'm anus. Were truer words ever typed? Now let's move on to palindromes. Here's the famous one: Madam I'm Adam. OK, ready? Madam I'm Anus, Tsunami Madam. (I'm also the perfect storm, a Mayoral candidate with a lot to ADD.)

But we were talking about how my oven went down for the count. Once down, it dragged the dishwasher with it. Happily, I don't wash lots of dishes or cook much (turncoat eggs aside), so the loss of these two appliances was no deathblow to my bachelor lifestyle. In fact, my bachelor lifestyle seems to have shrugged it all off and gone to Tahiti without me. Curses, lifestyle -- I'll have my revenge on you yet.

You must be wondering how an oven can break a dishwasher -- outside of Appliance Rodeo season, of course. Allow me to explain. By now you must have seen the stacking washer-dryer "units" popular in condo closets. As space-saving as these are, they are not trendsetting. In fact, these days they border on passe, now that the Europeans have brought two-in-one laundry machines to our shores.

One ring to unite them all: Preciousssss.
One big steel box to wash and dry them all: Priceless.

(To the tune of "Troglodyte," by The Jimmy Castor Bunch) But way back in the days when John Lindsay ruled New York, there was a space constraint that too many people knew about. And every night, about a quarter to ten, the doors would swing open. A hulking frame would appear. It would be none other than …

Modern Maid. Before she was swallowed up in the savage appliance-maker consolidations of the last century, Modern Maid made modern but now extinct kitchen combos like the one that used to dominate this leaderless cubby.

Ingenious solutions flourish in the space-starved shoeboxes that pass for dwellings here in the modern city, though no space-saver is as genius as the combo oven-stove-dishwasher package -- or "unit" -- I had to surrender yesterday. It was black, and it featured a dishwasher at floor level, four gas burners directly atop that, a "work area" above that, and then an oven at eye-level. It also had a clock, a timer, lights, and even a noisy fan that I always turned on when cooking -- only to discover yesterday that it wasn't vented to anywhere. (No wonder this place got so smoky.) When the "mice" chewed up the oven wiring, they wrecked the dishwasher too.

In brief, the whole thing died last month, so yesterday a guy showed up to dismantle and remove it. Why was I not surprised to find a big pink wall where the unit used to stand? (Note to Campaign Staff: This pinko streak may be very useful when I assemble my Coalition for Victory.) Once upon a time, apparently, someone painted the whole kitchen a lurid shade of bubblegum. Time passed, and soberer hues (white, white, white, and more white) prevailed in the visible areas, but no one ever bothered to paint behind the Modern Maid. Now that the Maid herself is but a fading memory, a stick of gum looms above the new oven, a Frigidaire four-burner that hulks low and white where once towered a mighty black space-saving giant.

Why have you just read all this?

I don't know. I just work here. But here's the soft pink underbelly to the foregoing. The inspirational money shot.

When I saw the super today in the lobby, he said, "You have a new stove!" (He knew the old one was shot when he looked at it a month ago. He didn't need no stinking mustachioed experts, but the landlord did.) I agreed and told him about the pink wall, saying the landlord wants me to paint the wall for her, and given the rent I pay, I don't see why I should do any work here. Then -- are you ready? -- the super channeled Oprah: "When I used to rent, this would happen to me too, but I always painted the wall or did the fixing myself. I did not do it for the landlord -- I did it for me."

Speechless, I was, before this textbook example of a fully realized, balanced adult behaving maturely. Why, this mindshift could change my whole life. It could provide a template for a new approach to the world. Though it pains me to refer to Nietzsche twice in a week, it was a perfect example of an ubermenschlich action, even if der Uberman was only ein Renterman at the time.

Did I march right upstairs and take control of my life? No, of course not. I reasoned his good sense right out of my head. Of course he painted things -- he's a super, man. He's good at painting and spackling. I am not. I have a history of postponing home repairs for years, even when the home belongs to me. If someone were to ask me to help them paint a room elsewhere, I'd be willing. That's usually kind of fun. But I'm busy. And with regard to the spackling arts, I'm lazy.

Apart from all that, to be honest, I'm not really ready to paint over the one note of delirious color in my austere precincts. When I look at that giant gumstick above the stove I have to smile. If I squint, I can almost see in its raw edges and random pencil scribblings ("19") a third-rate Ab-Ex canvas.

So maybe I don't want an all-white kitchen just yet. Maybe I'll wait till after the election. Besides, I think that wall vote is a cinch once I nationalize the Swiffer and agree to let the gays marry.

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