highlights from the conversation with my landlord

my landlord is old and withered-looking but he does tai chi and lives in a third-floor walkup. he’s real nice but he talks like an old dude so i only understand about 45% of what he is saying. he doesn’t do that annoying “niiii haaaaaooooo” shit and he never tries talking louder or slower, he just repeats himself like maybe if he says whatever he wants me to understand enough times, then it’ll stir up some dormant memory of chinese i learned in a past life and then i’ll be able to do more than look at my non-chinese-speaking husband if he knows what’s going on

here are the highlights from our conversation this morning, initiated because we want to extend our lease but also there’s a leak in the living room:

we showed him where the water is leaking through the carpet on our ceilings (our place has loads of personality) and he said he’d get someone to come take a look at it

i thought he was saying that we were wasting electricity and i wanted to be like “you are so right” and i was working up my “i’m gonna do some soul-searching” face but it turns out he just wants to get us hooked up with some solar power source of electricity cause that’ll conserve some electricity and be safer for us (than our gas water heater and gas stove)

i learned how to say solar power in chinese

we asked him to change the drape rails cause the little plastic riders are so old they’ve gotten brittle and break off when you touch them. he said he is willing to install and pay for some kind of covering for our big sliding glass doors at the front but he thinks a giant roller shade is the way to go.¬†like he was really selling it because that’s what he has in his apartment–he even took us downstairs to show us his giant, ugly roller shade. i was on the fence when i thought he was talking about horizontal blinds and partly because i didn’t think horizontal blinds came in that size, but no, uh uh, i do not want a 10-foot wide white hospital screen between me and what is actually a nice view when the sun isn’t three feet away from our front windows. i suggested vertical blinds instead; he said he wasn’t sure if they exist but he’d ask the contractor.

if we’re willing, he’ll have the contractor come while we’re on holiday to fix up the roof and install the solar power apparatus

there was a pause and the landlord filled that pause with a pretty lengthy fart and then the pause was extended because jeremy and i couldn’t laugh, couldn’t look at each other, couldn’t talk

he thought the abstract painting i bought at the thrift store for like NT$250 was a picasso. like he went from keeping back, standing in the doorway of the master bedroom to like almost crawling up on the bed. he asked if he we had money to buy a picasso. i am not sure if he really understood that it was a cheap print because he got very animated.

some people in the neighborhood were talking about us because %$#&@&t^#g^%#, but he told them it was just our culture. anyway he knows it’s very difficult to carry my bike up five flights of stairs. i didn’t ask him to go into more detail because i like living here and i don’t want to worry about what the neighbors i never talk to might be saying about us.

(his wife told me i could leave my bike in the weird basementy area of our apartment…okay first of all there are two flights of stairs that go down but there’s no basement, just a bunch of a trash in a cave under the first floor landing. she told me i could keep my bike on the stairs and i did once but i was like low-key worried about it not being there when i woke up which is irrational because this is taiwan, and then when i went downstairs it was there but the whole cave area is dark and dirty and full of trash and you can tell that IT definitely hangs out there on like tuesdays when there’s nothing left to watch on netflix¬†so fuck that, i will continue to carry my bike down and back up to the fifth floor every day)

he wants us to be comfortable in our place. he’ll be in touch when he lines up a contractor.


we don’t even do anything most of the time, just go to work and go home, sometimes i go for a walk in the mornings and sometimes we bring home takeout. we’ve had two christmas parties at christmas time. we take out the trash every saturday. what could they possibly have to say about us?!


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