My brother, Chuck, has this thing about mushrooms. Not a good thing either. He hates them. I always knew he hated them but, until he was in his late 30s, I didn’t know he had never even tried one in his entire life. As you should already know, my brother Chuck is “special.” As in: He went to “special” schools, he rode a “special” bus, etc. I’d rather just think of him as exceptional. And among his many exceptional traits is his exceptional will-power.
|MUSHROOMS IN TRIANA MARKET. I’M PRETTY SURE THEY’RE NOT POISON.|
Chuck was visiting us in San Diego, California in the late 1990s. He and I were out enjoying ourselves at Seaport Village and we stopped for lunch. I ordered a bacon and mushroom burger. As I was about to take my first bite, he looked at me in panic and asked, “That’s not poison, is it?” And then I understood. Clearly, when he was a child he heard someone say “poison mushrooms.” And, if poison mushrooms did in fact exist, how could he possibly know which mushrooms were and which mushrooms were not poisonous?
|PLUMP AND DELICIOUS.|
The solution? Never eat a mushroom. I explained to him that the mushrooms you get in the supermarket or in a restaurant could never be poison. He relaxed and I was able to enjoy my bacon mushroom burger (although he did seem to monitor me closely for a while). Still, he has never tasted a mushroom. Just in case.
|NOT A BURGER TOPPING.
THIS TOPS THE DOOR TO OUR MAIN BATHROOM.
When I think about it, however, maybe there is something to Chuck’s dislike of mushrooms. They’re a fungus after all. And we’ve got a collection of fungi growing on our walls right now — no thanks to “F” — that don’t look very appetizing. I regularly wash the small bit of mold off a corner of a wall in one bedroom, but I keep my distance from the varieties growing in the halls and bathroom. We’ll be out of this place and into our new home on the beach in less than three weeks. We’re hopeful the fungus among us won’t cause us any serious health problems.
|NO NEED FOR MUSHROOM-SNIFFING PIGS. ALL VERY EASY TO FIND.
WE DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT GROWS WHERE WE CAN’T SEE.
Last Tuesday, I delivered a 3-page letter of termination and a 13-page log of events (since the pipes first burst 23 December) to our useless building manager “F.” We have, of course, not had a response from “F.” The wood-laminate floor in our hallway resembles the ramps of a California skate park. The cats find it fascinating.
|ON SECOND THOUGHT, THIS DOES KIND OF LOOK LIKE WHAT’S GROWING ON OUR WALLS.|