I’ve been staring at the hole in my ceiling for two months now.
It started off as a discolored, half dollar-sized bubble of paint, and ended up as a 12”x14” roughly cut hole directly above my showerhead. I will spare you the trials and tribulations of condo living, and the pros and cons of stacked plumbing. Suffice it to say, my upstairs neighbor’s bathtub had a leak.
My go-to fix-it guy’s busy work schedule (followed by his two-week vacation) has left me with more than 60 days worth of shower time with the hole. And while Paul McCartney sang about how his hole “stopped his mind from wandering”, mine has had the exact opposite effect.
Initially, my thoughts centered on the fear that a hundred spiders (or worse) would scurry out from the hole the moment I closed my eyes to rinse the shampoo out of my hair. Or a bloody hand would jut down and grab hold of me as I washed my face. But when neither of these things happened, I was able to relax and muse over the idea of Cold War-era spy cameras planted in the walls, of squirrels and other furry critters turning the crawl space and mechanical ducts into an enormous habitrail. I pictured gold bullion, property deeds, and first edition Superman comics carefully wrapped in plastic and stashed in the drywall throughout my building. I imagined childhood time capsules, teenagers’ marijuana stashes, empty liquor bottles, mummified armadillos, Creole gris-gris, Native American arrowheads, and Civil War buckshot…
Tomorrow, my fix-it guy is coming to patch the hole. It may sound crazy, but part of me is a little sad. That unsightly hole has inspired a range of emotions – from irritation to fear to amusement – and also provided the perfect opening for me to tell my guests a multitude of stories about the elderly shut-ins upstairs (did I ever tell you about the time my neighbor woke me up at 7am on a Sunday morning by repeatedly shouting Thank You, Jesus! at the top of her lungs?)
But it’s just as well, really. Because like anything we see every day, it’s only a matter of time before I no longer notice that the hole is even there.
Now, if only I could find inspiration in the creaky, steam-swollen floorboards surrounding my dishwasher. Oh wait…I think I have an idea.