I was going to write about the many hair salons and barbershops in my neighborhood, Hamilton Heights. There are more hair salons and barbershops in this neighborhood than there are bars on Avenue A.
But speaking of hair, when I took a shower this morning I took special note of how much hair I lost, and that’s more important. So the haircut places are going to have to wait.
This is how much hair I lost this morning:
Doesn’t look like a lot, I guess that’s average, but at my age I mourn every follicle that falls dormant forever. At least I’ve got more hair than my younger brother. Sorry, bro.
The reason I can see how much hair I’ve lost each time I shower is because of my nifty new shower drain cover:
I had to buy it after I burned the chrome plating off of the last one by pouring sulfuric acid down the drain without removing the cover first.
But that’s a good thing- this cover actually catches the hair BEFORE it goes down the drain where it will hook on any little protrusion in a pipe turn and start collecting more hairs. Hairs like to stick together for some reason.
That eventually leads to a nice little plug in your drain, and the water goes down really, really slow until it completely stops going down and you have to shower with your feet in five inches of dirty water.
I’ve had a lot of experience with clearing drains, as I’m sure we all have. Well, maybe most people just call their building super or a plumber to do it, but I’m stubborn and I don’t need any help and I like doing things by myself.
I used to live in a studio apartment on 47th Street in Hell’s kitchen, a real dump. One day I flushed the toilet and it backed up into the tub, not a good sign. After I cleaned out what was in the tub into a bucket, I removed the drain cover and got a wire hanger. Every time I pick up a wire hanger I think of Joan Crawford.
I took the wire hanger and untwisted the ends that hold it together with a pair of pliers and bent a little hook onto one end with the pliers.
I proceeded to feed the hanger into the clogged drain. This was a little trick I learned working a doorman in a building where the super is too lazy to go up to an apartment and sends the doorman instead. At least he told me what to do when I got there.
It’s not easy twisting a bendable but hard piece of metal into the twists and turns of drain plumbing. But with a lot of effort I managed to hook onto the culprit, hair. I pulled and pulled, extracting literally yards of gunky, smelly hair. Blond hair by the looks of it. I don’t have blond hair, and mine isn’t yards long, so whose hair was it?
My neighbors! They were a couple, filmmakers judging by all of the filmmaking crap they lugged up and down the stairs, and the both had long blond hair. It was hard to tell the boy from the girl apart from behind.
So, here’s the deal- in most buildings with studios they are built in a mirror image, front to back. The bathrooms abut each other, and the kitchen is next to the bathroom. And both apartments drainpipes share one common 4-inch drainpipe that runs the height of the building. Yes, it all goes down one pipe, just like George Costanza claimed on the Seinfeld show. You can be as clean as you like, but if your neighbors aren’t, you can have a problem.
I’ve got a ton of drain cleaning stories, because I’m good at doing stuff like this is how I became the handyman at that building. But those will have to wait.
Just for right now all I want to say is, if you have a hair problem in your shower, get one of the covers pictured above. They really work. The one I had before, this one:
Lets a lot of hair down the drain. And if that happens, you can get out the old wire hanger, or go to Home Depot (or Lowe’s) and pick up some Drain Clean. The sulfuric acid one works best, but if you keep using it you’ll burn a hole in the pipes. I have only to think of the burned drain cover to know that.
The lye stuff works pretty good, just slower (overnight). Drano is the worst; it’s a waste of money. You might as well call a plumber. Or get out the vinyl gloves and the wire hanger.