Thursday, April 7, 2011

to all the dank I've loved before

Our basement is a pit, pure and simple. It's so bad that even I, who blithely welcome visitors with the statement, "Hi, sorry about our house," am embarrassed about it. It is a malformed warren of dank, musty rooms with a congested viper's nest of pipes and ductwork running over the ceiling. The walls are a leprous assortment of wallpaper and flaking plaster peeling off in layers. It smells like mold and sweaty boys and dog.

It makes me reflect on Basements I Have Known.

When I was in college our choir went on "tour" to southern Utah, and my friend Margaret and I had to stay in the basement bedroom of a host family we only half-jokingly called the Klopeks. The bed was lumpy and rickety, the headboard was tufted vinyl caked in dust, with pieces of gum stuck here and there in the hollows the buttons made. Around the perimeter of the room were stacks of magazines, newspapers, small appliances, and general clutter (they were hoarders!). Next door to our room was the bedroom of their groaning behemoth of a son; hairy, greasy, clad in tight red shorts and a blue tank top, leering at us and following us around the house--thundering, actually, with his yawning bulk spilling out of what clothing he did have on. Margaret and I were terrified and more than a little thankful we had the safety in numbers of being in the same room. He didn't end up murdering us after all.

My room when I was growing up was in the basement, and it was decent. My mom made the best of a bad business. Once she painted a Care Bear mural on my wall. You can get away with that kind of thing in a basement. I liked my basement well enough that the basement in this house made me feel pleasantly reminiscent.

But the thing I wanted to say is this: because our basement is a pit, I don't feel bad about the boys tearing off strips of wallpaper, or drawing on the walls, because it's all going to have to be dealt with someday, and we'll just fight about one less thing until then. So they have pictures taped to and drawn on and phrases written on their walls. And next to Grant's bed, right next to his head, he has written,

"This part of the wall is wrong. It grows darker and darker."

And I am thoroughly creeped out. I don't know what his motivation was for writing it, and I'm afraid to ask.


All8 said...

Creeps me out too. {shudder}

Good luck.

tipsybaker said...

Love this post. Dark. Novelistic.

Sarah said...

And THAT is why they don't do choir tours anymore. You really missed out, though. Once my brother was on tour and got to stay at the home of the Eagles coach. It was, as expected, crazy nice. And my brother's bag broke while they were there, and he asked for some duct tape to fix it and the guy was like, "Nah, just have this really expensive bag I got for free."

Interesting about Grant. Has been reading any Edgar Allen Poe recently? Perhaps it's jut the Nintendo DS coming out :)

Melissa Cunningham said...


Reminiscent of Stephen King if you ask me. On the flip side of the coin, Stephen King is filthy rich. Maybe you should get Grant into some creative writing classes. That sentence is pretty profound, after all.