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.
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.
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.
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.