I had a discussion once with my friends Kalki and Antinos about Kalki’s mom, who apparently wants to turn the inside of her house into a domestic jungle. This took an unexpected turn, as most of our conversations do; a turn towards the Weird.
Long story short, we concluded that we would love to create microclimates within our apartments. Kalki’s apartment was on its way of becoming a jungle, full of monkeys, vines and a small stream. Antino’s house would be a dessert – he favors warmth more than anything. The dessert would be spread across the apartment, complete with a (small) camel that Antinos wouldn’t ride because he hates them, and a couple of date trees.
Now, my house’s microclimate was not my choice. Fate chose for me.
Imagine an unwelcome land of ice, spread across my apartment. Polar bears chasing fish in the bathroom and penguins sliding across the corridor. The remains of the Scott expedition scattered in the dining room.
My house is cold. In fact, all the houses I’ve ever lived in were cold, unwelcome and, oh, did I forget to mention, cold? The house where I grew up is old, made of stone and near the sea. This house really set the tone, because every single one after that was cold and drafty, the way I imagine the Middle Ages were. The house I currently live in, a beautiful 60’s apartment*, is cold. It’s so cold, that I woke up yesterday night with frozen eyelids. The inside of my soul was cold.
See, it’s not enough that the house is drafty and frozen like a witches’ tit (how does that even work). No. There is no central heating. 2016 marked the year my building filled the oil tank. Oh the tears of joy and reverence***. The central heating is on in the evenings, for 3 precious hours, provided that the outside temperature is 11⁰C (or 52 F). I swear, if it is 11,5⁰C it won’t turn on.
To battle with the polar microclimate, I have a small gas heater, which works really well. But because it’s gas, I turn it off when I sleep, otherwise I dream of a fiery death****. In my bedroom, which has 3 exposed walls and a terrace above. I wake up and I can see my breath forming icicles.
My house is so cold I often catch myself thinking: What if I turn the oven on and just leave the door open? Will it warm the apartment?
Oh, did I also mention that during the summer the heat is unbearable?
Like, Sauron’s volcano hot. Nazi faces melting in the corner, like someone opened the Arc hot.
* Complete with its own service entrance (because God forbid the maids used the main entrance. I shit you not, each apartment in this building has a main entrance and a servant’s entrance that leads to a round metal staircase. You can kind of imagine the maids, chatting on the staircase about their idiotic ladies. To make things shittier, there is also a tiny room, with a tiny closet. Is this storage space? No. It’s the room the maid could curl** in.
** Because it’s not big enough for a human being to stretch their legs. I imagine them sleeping in the shape of a sad semi colon.
*** The tenant’s meeting was amazing. Half of them showed up and I sat there,uncomfortably, on the 1950’s velvet dining room chair. The initial small talk included one of the tenants saying that, based on his experience, girls are smarter when they’re young but get dumber when they grow, while boys are dumber when young and get smart as they go. I was about to perform the Darth Vader force-choke on him, when two old ladies (both tenants) ganged up on him telling him not to pigeonhole people and that women are equally smart, if not smarter. What a powerful moment! Five minutes later the same empowering ladies said that our country is going to hell because no one is a good Christian any more, and they also let out comments with heavy homophobic undertones. I was raised to the skies and crushed within 5 minutes. Please, note here that I was going commando. I don’t know why, I never do. But I picked the day to go to a tenant’s meeting, commando while people spoke about feminism and our impending doom as a nation.
**** My house is so drafty, I do not need to worry about gas leak poisoning. I only need to worry that, in case of a fire, the drafts will only make it stronger.