La Poulette

Tastes like chicken.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lesson no. 1: Dodge the Doo


It took me a meager four days to find my dream apartment in Brussels - and I'm talking the perfect apartment in the perfect building on the perfect street in the perfect area for the perfect price. Unfurnished, modern, airy, full of light. Ok, so I had a little issue with the fact that the floor was covered with creamy white wall-to-wall carpeting, but when you have a barbecue friendly 20 square meter terrace leading from your dining room, who's looking?
I went to see my landlady the day after the deal was struck to sign my contract and it just so happened that her office was conveniently located in the ground floor of my future residence. She was an elegant, well-off Belgian dame and the modern office of the architect studio that she ran only served to reinforce this image. Which made it all the more strange that the place stank like a mother. Not an obvious stench, mind you, this wasn't the type of aroma you almost get used to due to its continuous presence. No, it was the type that sneaks up on you from behind, takes you by surprise and envelopes you in its stinky atmosphere, before rushing off only to return a few seconds later. Now you smell it, now you don't. I decided to ignore it and feigned interest as the landlady embarked upon a painstaking explanation of each article of the standard-issue contract (in the slow, well-enunciated French reserved exclusively for foreigners and mental patients). I smiled. I nodded. I jiggled my foot, impatient to get out of the stinkhole and off to the top floor - my floor.
20 minutes later I was off the hook, contract signed, keys in hand, merrily exploring my new pad, mentally planning the interior design (oriental boudoir meets Ikea) and the menu for the house warming party (Spanish tapas or Lebanese mezze?). I scoured every little nook and cranny, checking all the details getting acquainted with the feel and the smell of it. Uh, the smell?! It suddenly occurred to me that the stench of the office hadn't disappeared. I sniffed the air trying to put my finger on the source when something caught my eye. I had left little brownish shoe shaped stains all over the carpet where I'd walked. Did I mention that the carpet was white? Yes? How about wall-to-wall? That would be the type that you can't just pick up and drop off at the dry cleaners, you see. As a chill slowly made it's way down my spine I reluctantly lifted my foot to inspect its sole and sure enough, there lay the neatly embedded remains of what must have been a giant dog turd.
First lesson of big-city living: LEARNED.

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