Flowers in the Attic
Hands down, last Thursday was one of the WORST days I have ever had in the over-priced— yet rent-stabilized— shitheap that is my apartment. Period. Hallway puke* is mere fluff compared to the unbridled idiocy I endured at the hands of the â€˜managementâ€™ of this building.
You will notice that I put quotes around the word management. This is because this building is managed in only the most rudimentary academic sense. Much like Iraq or Afghanistan have functioning governments, there is a management company for this building. On paper, anyway. The day-to-day reality tells a very different story.
Words cannot adequately attest to my experience. The following photo does.
This is my bathtub. While I will not profess to being the most fastidious person in the world (the years of caked on grime in this apartment render it impossible anyway), this is not the usual state of my bathroom. Nope, what you’re seeing in the above photo is what happens when the landlord
decides is ordered to repair something: a thorough sacking of my bathroom by scabs.
Every time I think this building is â€œunder controlâ€ (and go about looking for work, making art, writing about dog shit or having a life) some horrendous latent defect (or disgusting bodily discharge) rears its ugly head. I am the resident Confessor/Mensch for the tenants of this building. Do not ask me why this is so; it just is. This is why I know damned near everything that is wrong with this building. My neighbors call me, email me, or knock on my door and tell me all about it. Often.
So it wasn’t really that big of a surprise when a man knocked on my door Thursday morning and told me that he needed to tear out part of my bathroom ceiling so he could repair the plumbing for the apartment upstairs. After years of having to use a bucket to bail out the water from their bathtub (because it will not drain), my upstairs neighbors finally had enough and brought this to the attention on their Section-8 housing inspector. Good for them.
I only have my own presumptuousness to blame for expecting to get any notice whatsoever from the landlord as to when these repairs were to take place. I should have known better. Stupid me.
After staying up late the night before I was awakened by a knock at my door. I ignored it. Five minutes later, more knocking. I answered the door to find two scruffy men looking at me.
The older one spoke: We are here to tear out your bathroom ceiling so we can repair the plumbing.
Repairman: Didn’t the Stupor tell you?
Me: No. He doesn’t tell any of us jack shit.
Repairman: I need to work in your bathroom.
Me: That may very well be, but you are going to wait 15 minutes so I can get dressed.
I close the door and lock it. Fifteen minutes (and one very angry phone call to my husband) later, he comes back.
Me: How long is this going to take?
Repairman: One hour.
Me: Am I going to be able to use the toilet?
Repairman: Do you need to go to the bathroom?
Me: Not right now, but this isn’t exactly something that is within my control, now is it?
The repairman’s assistant thought this pithy response was funny as hell.
I spent the next FOUR HOURS yelling at my husband/friends/neighbors via telephone over the din of this demented duo pommelling the shit out of my bathroom, shouting at each other and repeatedly slamming my apartment door. When they finally completed their task, they had also effectively rendered an entire afternoon spent cleaning the kitchen and bathroom useless. Even after ‘cleaning up’ my bathroom, it looked like it belonged at a gas station. The only notable difference being that gas station lavatories don’t usually have a gaping HOLE in the ceiling.
Nice, eh? I for one like the evidence of a previously aborted attempt to penetrate my ceiling. I was told by the repairman that the Stupor would be by on Saturday (today) to fix the hole. Like hell he will. Even if the Stupe bothers to show up, I sure as fuck am not going to let him fix it. He’s a fucking moron.
After working a 10 hour day my husband came home and started sealing up the hole. Before doing so he peered inside the dropped ceiling with a flashlight. He came into the living room and told me to come in and have a look. I really wish he hadn’t done this.
This is the ass-end of our neighbor’s bathtub.
Suspecting that my husband might be onto something interesting, I grabbed my digital camera and took blind photos of the rest of the space. I then ran into the living room and uploaded them.
Um, this doesn’t look right…
EWW! There are movies with stage sets that look like this.
They are called snuff films.
Come play with us, Heather.
After telling my husband that I was totally convinced someone had stashed dead fetuses in there, I quickly retreated to the living room. I did not come back until he had sealed off this Whatever Happened to Baby Jane-esque chamber of horrors.
Fuck 311, I’m calling an exorcist!
2/25/07: True to form, the Super did not show up Saturday to repair the ceiling. He was probably too busy aspirating on his own seminal fluid, jacking-off or standing around looking stupid. Perhaps all three (at once, mind you).
2/27/07, 6:00 p.m.: I hear a knock at my door. It is the Stupor accompanied by yet another ‘scab’. He says he wants to repair my ceiling. I tell him that my husband (a former finish carpenter) had already done so and shut the door. Not satisified with this answer (what would I know, I AM just a woman, after all), the Stupor asks my husband about one hour later. And got the exact same answer. The Stupe seems to operate under the (antiquated and sexist notion) that my husband is behind much of the HPD complaints, DOB inspections, etc., here. He isn’t: I am.
*This finally got mopped up yesterday. I know this came to pass because, I shit you not, the puke had managed to eat through the fucking paint!
Why would someone paint a tile floor you ask? Very simple: it’s a nice way for the Stupor to kick some business to his retarded cronies and pocket a little dough. Oh— and didn’t I mention already that the Stupor is a fucking moron?