The case of the missing mailbox et cetera.

In my previous blog I mentioned a few things about my apartment that were still pending, before it could be friendly and therefore more habitable. When you think about it, all that’s missing should have been provided the moment I was given the key and taken on an inventory tour by the leasing agent. But we are human; perfection belongs elsewhere. A little error shouldn’t cost too much emotion, except that when it’s not fixed in the time it’s supposed to, then we have a problem. Then we have inefficiency in its truest form.

The view from my neighbors on my left

 To give credit where it’s due, on Friday August 31st, the maintenance manager brought the missing bedroom door. Bravo. After he fixed it I tried opening and closing, and that’s when I noticed it’s mainly for decoration. No lock or even a place for a key. Suppose I’m one of those who must lock my bedroom door before I sleep? Welcome to adjustment. I’ve since noticed that many houses here don’t have inside doors that lock. The idea; loft revisited, perhaps? Not to give in to paranoia, I think what’s usually comforting is not the security behind a locked bedroom door, but the feeling that you can lock your bedroom door if you want to. To realize that that power of choice is what’s taken away from me is annoying.

 Before the maintenance manager left, he checked the blinds, touched them and said, “Yes, these need changing.” Of course! Wasn’t that the reason he was in the apartment to begin with? I assured him the item was on the inventory, said it with sarcasm. He nodded. Since he’d been shown the inventory, he didn’t have to appear just to touch the old, dirty blinds, and then leave with a promise: “I’ll be back soon with new blinds.” What’s bizarre, I thought he meant that very day. I’d been told the blinds were already purchased anyway. But the long weekend set in, we celebrated Labor Day, which back home is honored on May 1st, and the blinds have become the blinds. Since he didn’t commit to a particular day, maybe I can spin a religious lens on the word ‘soon,’ and wait it out. The maintenance man reminded me of a civil servant in Russian surrealism, or African realism for that matter, who walks into his office to drape a jacket around his chair, then goes away to execute his personal errands. He returns later in the evening to relieve the chair, put on his coat and go home. When kids ask him how his day was; he sighs, and waxes philosophy on building a nation. His wife brings him a cup of tea with biscuits, massages his shoulders and tells the kids how their dad is a very hard-working man.

The view from my kitchen

As for the mailbox key, I went to the office to pick it up and happily walked down the mailboxes. Lo and behold, there was no mailbox. So I called the office to let them know I’d just left their office, with a key to the mailbox, but there was no mailbox. The young man who answered the phone even laughed. It was strange. So I said, where is it supposed to open? Come and show me. Eventually we located the mailbox, which wasn’t labeled at all, which made me wonder how any postman was ever going to know in such a big housing estate. Only four out of about thirty were numbered. As soon as I got back home I made sure to print my number and label my box.

There are stories here, I tell you.

The view from my living room. These buildings glow in rainbow colors at night

I look out my window and comfort myself that I have a great view. If only I can get rid of the cigarette smell that lingers in the apartment—the main reason I want the blinds changed—I might be able to enjoy living here, and breathing freely.




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6 Responses to The case of the missing mailbox et cetera.

  1. Diane Browne September 6, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Oh dear, Mildred, it sounds very third world/developing world. I do hope that the people are as nice and friendly as they would be in the developing world. That’s how we make up for the laid back approach we often have. So maybe that’s part of the charm of the South. I really do hope that you get all these things corrected soon so you can relax and be comfortable. I must tell you that we have never moved into a house/apartment (and we have moved a lot -like Jamaican roving gypsies) that we didn’t have to fix things. I don’t know if that’s any comfort. Probably not. However it does seem as if you may have a lot matertial about which to write.

    How is work going? I hope that the students are interesting and interested. That can make all the difference in the adventure of life.

    • MB September 6, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      True, Diane, the people are wonderful and make up for whatever else that doesn’t measure up. I feel the love & support even when i wish on the residential part they could be more professional & efficient. save time. But hey, it’s a package from which you get one… & not all. Lucky if one gets it all. Teaching is the most exciting & fulfilling part. Students are very engaging and participate at a highly desired level. Their stories are remarkable. On that front it’s 100% fulfillment–which frankly, is something to be grateful for. It makes all the difference. I catch myself saying; I can’t believe am paid to do this. it’s fun & I learn a lot from them & am glad to be helpful to them. Our love for good writing & Lit shines.

  2. Sandra September 6, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Loving this. To get rid of the stale cigarette smell try wiping down the walls and floors with a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar.

  3. Jane September 6, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    the neighborhood is really beautiful. I would not imagine such an apartment as you describe to be in such an area. Good luck.

  4. Bob Kisiki September 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    I keep wondering and asking : which country is this we’re dealing with here? Why does it sound so like Uganda?

    • MB September 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

      My dear, this is the Uganda of USA

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