I live in a condo developed by a couple of charlatans, still free, and managed by a team of embezzlers, now jailed. I am less bothered by the fact that the swindlers made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in condo fees from unsuspecting owners across the city than I am by my kitchen faucet. Every corner was cut when the building was renovated, but not every henny penny is visible to the casual observer. I loved my faucet when I first moved into my place because it, along with what I have since learned are unsealed marble countertops, is one of the few indications of luxury living in an otherwise unremarkable, underwater home the size of a post-it note.
The description of the faucet on the company website reads “stainless steel sanitary ware sink/kitchen faucet/mixer/tap,” and, the jabberwocky notwithstanding, I am most struck by the first three words. It is my understanding that “stainless steel” means the product is stainless steel and that “sanitary” means the product is sanitary, but this isn’t the case with my faucet.
The first time I noticed the odor I was eating my dinner, and, every time I brought the fork to my mouth, there it was. I sniffed my fingertips, the backs of my hands, my arms, my armpits, my only table, my one couch, my floors, my walls, my 39 utensils, my 20 plates, my 13 cups, my 12 bowls, my 2 garbage cans, my sole bathtub, my 1 toilet, my 1 closet, my 5 windows, my 2 book shelves, my tea kettle, and my printer. For the life of me I could not find the source of the smell, so the sniffing at meal time went on for weeks. One evening, when I was eating a cup of minestrone, I noticed that the smell was especially strong when the spoon was in my mouth. It was then I discovered that my palm reeked of mildew, and, sleuth that I am, I traced it back to the faucet handle.