Zen and the Art of Buzzer Maintenance: Bushwick Style
This is the intercom system for my building. As you can clearly see, this fixture has seen better times. The sweet salad days of its youth, e.g.; when this appliance was not only wired in a coherent fashion and allowed the residents contained within this building the luxury of “buzzing” people in are, alas, no more.
What was once a facilitator of convenience to others has become my nuisance. The only people who bother using this “intercom system” are drunks, junkies and fools. A motley crew that god (for reasons only known to him) has seen fit to protect. In Greenpoint. With a particular emphasis on my block.
Unless of course one of these ne’er do wells takes to hitting my buzzer repeatedly at 2:00-6:00 in the morning. You see, I quit going to church at a very young age. Being pontificated at like a child by children and hypocrites of all ages did not sit well with me. But I did a learn a thing or two during my indoctrination. For example: it is much better to give than it is to receive.
On a hot summer morning/night who would not like a nice cold cup of water (or two)? I know I would. Especially if I happened to be shit-faced drunk and/or high. That’s why I see fit to “water the plants” whenever someone sees fit to pummel my buzzer when most people (myself included) are asleep. The problem is (at such odd hours and being very sleepy) my aim isn’t very good; most of the water I pour finds its way onto the stoop below. Exactly where the “buzzer-pusher” is.
To those of you who I have accidentally showered (and we both know such an attempt at hygiene on your part would come to pass by accident), please accept my sincerest apologies. My hand and eye coordination are not what they used to be. If I was not enfeebled by old age (READ: being in my 30’s) I assure buckets of boiling oil would find their way to you.
That said, I recently found a buzzer “fixture” in Bushwick and it inspired me. Not only was it out of the reach of drunks, mischievous children or ornery little chicks like me, it was also a test.
Speaking as someone who has taken oodles of tests, I am familiar with the logic of “multiple choice”. From Kindergarten to the grave, one’s worth— be it financially, personally, sexually, etc.— is decided by such examinations. The first of many inquiries about my worth as a human being came in Kindergarten. The fact that I used scissors with my right hand and could not write with the same said hand was troublesome to my teacher.
Was Miss Heather retarded?
That was the issue my teacher brought up at an urgent meeting with my mother. My mother (not being a elementary education professional, but being my mother) made the presumptuous suggestion:
Did you try to let her write with her left hand?
It worked. But I digress…
When faced with a question I couldn’t answer on one of the many standardized tests I took— be they in junior high school, high school or college (each designated to highlight the defects of the previous institution and my person) I rarely picked “none of the above”. Perhaps if I label my buzzer as such the luck will rub off?
Hope springs eternal. In the meantime I’m keeping a pitcher of ice water ready.