Longtime reader and commenter and all-around swell guy Sixty Grit has poked me through the bars about an off-hand comment I made in “Tear The Roof Off The Sucka.” I’ve been living for about a year now in a house that was something of a drunkard’s nightmare cum insane asylum, so perhaps I’ve grown inured to the gaping strangeness of the place.
Wait, you can’t just throw out “shingled inside” without further explanation. I have seen some stuff, but I have never seen that. One of my houses was owned by a guy who used to saw off molding using a chainsaw, from the looks of it, square, sort of, then nail it next to another piece, on an outside corner. He didn’t know you could buy a saw with more than 1 tooth per inch _and_ saw an angle cut. But I never saw shingles inside.
I don’t want Sixty Grit to think I’m a liar. I am a liar, by birth, education, temperament, proclivity, and inclination; that’s why I don’t want Sixty Grit to think I’m a liar. But indeed, I hereby aver that a goodly portion of my house had cedar shingles applied to the interior walls like lumberjack wallpaper:
That’s my bedroom, which is still something of a horror, but at least it’s not shingled now. The foyer was shingled. A bedroom upstairs. The kitchen was shingled, too, including the backsplash –even the backsplash behind the stove. A cedar shingle dried indoors might as well be soaked with napalm. Using it for a stove backsplash tests the lower limits of behaviors that result in continuing to abide above the lawn. And at least some of the former occupants smoked like steamship funnels. There are scorch marks on the rim of the sink in the bathroom, and the ultimate sign of the hardcore smoker: scorchmarks on the wooden floor around the toilet where the truly dedicated would put down their ubiquitous butt to look after their other ubiquitous butt.
There’s a great deal that can be learned from my house. It’s a fine example of what happens when a house is worth a lot less than it cost to build it. Every single house in the town I live in is worth less than it would cost to build it. The United States is learning right now how people behave in, and towards, things that are currently worth less than they cost to build. No one takes care of inexpensive expensive things. They amuse themselves with wrecking it, or tinker with it, like a Home Depot flyer exploded in it, pasting nonsensical gewgaws all over everything instead of fixing the roof or keeping the pipes from freezing. People become inordinately interested in “saving energy,” and are prone to listen to the siren song of rubber windows and plastic siding and willy-nilly insulation. The buboes appear as vinyl siding, generally; then the long, slow, slide with lots of stops along the way to copper thievery. Human beings are locusts to a house they don’t care about.
You can have expensive houses or you can have no houses. I’d exhort you to choose, but it looks like we already have. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got shingles to put on the roof, and take off the walls.