Brad Winkler is an American student in Paris. He shares an apartment with long-running Michelin promotional character, Bibendum
“So when I moved from the States to Paris to study I was looking for a place to rent when I saw this ad. I mean, it was mostly an ad for tires but at the bottom it said ‘room share opportunity’ so I called the number and this weird sounding guy answered and I asked if the room was still available and he said ‘oui’ and then he gave me an address. I had no idea who I was talking to, but his voice was like super high and it sounded like air escaping.
So I went to this super nice apartment building and his place was on the top floor and when he answered the door I was like, “Hey! Aren’t you that Michelin guy?” and he just went ‘oui’ in this way that kind of sounded like a high fart. And I looked round the apartment, which was super nice, and the price was crazy low by the way, and so I said I’d take it and I moved in the next day. Honestly, I was like super stoked to be living with that guy from the Michelin commercials and to have such a sweet apartment, even if it smelled a little rubbery and a lot of the furniture was also made of rubber.
So the first thing I discovered about living with Bibendum is that he falls over a lot. I think his center of gravity is way off or something. But it’s kind of cool most times because he just bounces up again but when he falls onto one of the boxes with all your stuff in it, your stuff is going to get broken. Also, don’t expect him to apologise ‘cos he doesn’t really speak much and if he talks for too long his high voice gets lower and lower and then he gets real pissed off because has to go to a gas station to re-inflate himself. One time I was like, why don’t you just buy a pump for the apartment but he just got pissed and threw rubber pellets at my eyes. Also, sometimes when he falls over in the street he gets his head stuck in like a bicycle or railings or something and to get him free you have to kind of squish his whole head which just freaks me out.
So yea, he broke a lot of my stuff pretty much as soon as I moved in, but I thought we’d be cool after that. I was totally wrong. The thing about Bibendum is, I don’t think he knows he’s a huge rubber mascot and that’s kind of a problem ‘cos he’s always trying to fit in spaces that are too small for him. Like this one time he wanted to get in a taxi and the driver was all yelling at him in French and telling him he’s too “grand” and Bibendum was yelling back and then he yelled so much all the air came out of him and I pretty much had to drag this floppy white bag to a cycle repair center to have him blown up again. Man, he was pissed about that. Also, because he has no idea how big he is, he’s always smashing the doors off in the apartment and breaking the shelves and pulling the bathroom sink off the wall. Speaking of which, you don’t want to go into the bathroom after he’s been in there for 20 minutes. It always smells like burnt rubber.
I guess this problem comes from what he eats, which is mostly rubber. Like, if he can’t be assed to cook he calls someone and 20 minutes later there’s a guy at the door with a large pizza box, but inside is a tire. It’s super weird. Also, he thinks you have to cook rubber and, oh boy, that makes the kitchen smell bad too. Like, this one time I actually said to him, “Do you have to cook the rubber?” and also I asked him if it was a good idea to, like, eat so much rubber, but then he just turned his head around and hissed at me like a fat rubber cat. Did I mention that he can rotate his head all the way round? Like, where are his bones? Does he have bones? Also, why do his shits look like racquetball balls?
So yea, I thought having Bibendum as a roommate would be super cool but now all my stuff is broken and all my clothes smell of rubber and my friends won’t come hang out at my place because he weirds them out with the smell and the way he wants to hug everyone. Also, somehow the authorities have my number so now I’m getting all these calls in French like “your roommate has got his head stuck in the bridge again” and “your roommate has got into an argument about the size of an elevator, please come collect him and bring a footpump”. Honestly, it’s not fun at all. It’s a total pain in the ass. Also, he’s really racist.”