There was lots of dithering over what to title this piece. I couldn’t decide between dystopia and Chernobyl and hell. The ends of the earth was dismissed early on as too wordy. I had many wonderful choices.
Chernobyl and hell are the most descriptive, but who cares about accuracy? I’m trying to set a mood, so I went with dystopia. It’s a brazenly pompous word, very smug and uppity, which appeals to me. Pretentiousness as a literary device.
My domicile, getting back to the point, feels toxic and quite likely is. It’s essentially a slaughterhouse for insects and a holding tank for poison gases chambered in the earth below me. They seep in through the floor, clouds of invisible, fragrance-free death. My time on earth is drawing to a close, I can feel it. Or I’m just being melodramatic.
Can you blame me? The exterminator drops by as often as the mailman. Plus, I found a spider the size of a frog in my shower. Dead as a doornail. All things being equal, I’d rather deal with spiders than the insecticides the guy squirts around so casually. They’re lethal enough, but then inspectors of unknown origin came a-knocking. They were testing for radon, which is defined as the chemical element of atomic number 86, a rare radioactive gas belonging to the noble gas series.
Oh. My. God.
Only in total darkness do I find sweet, but short-lived, relief. That’s when I see reassuring proof with my own eyes: I’m not fluorescing. I don’t glow in the dark. I still lack the luminous properties of a nightlight. Good news, yes, but I have to wonder, what’s the half-life? There will be a backlash of some sort.
But, beyond environmental concerns, we can’t forget that treat for the ears who dwells above me. All 400-lbs. of writhing, quivering flesh. She continues to strain her furniture and my ceiling to the breaking point. She is, in effect, setting off explosives 23 ½ hours a day — although it seems longer. Every once in a while her vigorous activities put the blades of the ceiling fan in motion. She’s a delight, that woman, pure dee-light.
I’m sandwiched between poison gases and nails on a chalkboard. The search for new lodgings is underway.