So. Monday. Not this Monday, last Monday. It seemed like any other Monday. Insomnia. Two to five hours of sleep in one- or two-hour intervals. Make myself get out bed, slowly, turnoff the alarms on two phones. One can of V-8, to get something like food in my stomach. Then prednisone for the ulcerative colitis. Two or three cups of decaffeinated coffee. Two eggs usually boiled. Banana.
Caught the bus. Went to work. Took care of business as quickly as I could, then found a nice quiet cubbyhole to hide in until someone called me on the radio, or I got a text from my boss to deliver something.
A normal day. A typical day. I caught the bus after work with Mike, a coworker. We talked about the usual. How was your day? How was the weekend? Yadda yadda. Et cetera. Got off the bus on 47th Street and walked home. It’s a ten-minute walk, worth 1000 steps towards my 11,000-steps-a-day fitness goal, so I try to do it every day, unless I am too tired.
I get home, make sure the front door is locked (I can think of no nastier surprise than having someone just walk into my apartment while I’m sitting there, watching TV in my shorts). I drop my backpack on the floor next to my desk and make a quick stop to the bathroom. I don’t know if it’s the Entyvio or the prednisone, but I have to pee almost twice as much as I did a month ago.
Then I went int the kitchen to rinse my coffee cup, and…
Okay. Surprising but not a big deal. the water has been off before, but normally it’s the water department, and there is a notice on the wall in the foyer and an email telling us how long the water will be off. I didn’t recall seeing an email, but I not great about checking my email. So…
No big deal. Not my first time. I can handle it like an emotionally mature adult. I check my email. No notice. Strange. Someone had dropped a ball. Is it the water company?
I call the water company and get the digital run around for a while. If you’re happy and you know it, press 1. If you feel lucky, press 2. I leave my number so someone can call me back and let me know when the water will be back on.
But it’s not a big deal. I have a full pitcher of filtered water in the fridge, and two two-quart bottles of water beside the fridge. Sodas, too. I will survive.
Twenty minutes later, the water company returns my call. They don’t know anything about a water outage. It must have been done by the apartment building managers or maintenance. You’ll have to call them.
Oh? Okay. And they didn’t send us an email?
Is our water off, or is it just my water? I want to knock on someone’s door and ask, and now I regret not having a decent relationship with anyone in my building, someone I can call and just casually ask… I don’t want to ask anyone, though, and look worried. It’s just…nothing really.
I call the front office and get transferred to the off-hours call center. A very friendly young man answers and apologizes for my problem. He promises to contact the maintenance man and assures me the maintenance man will get back to me shortly.
Problem solved as far as I am concerned.
But my water is not on two hours later, and the maintenance man has not contacted me. And I am not going to freak out about it. The water has been off before. It will be on tomorrow morning when I wake up. I have water in the apartment. I will be fine. Et cetera.
I wake up on Tuesday at 5 AM and… No water.
I’m a little pissed off. Where’s the water? What happened to it? It should have been fixed overnight. What were they doing? Why didn’t maintenance call me? I go online, leave a maintenance request, to cover all my bases, and go to work, angry.
Tuesday at work is much the same as Monday. Deliver some supplies. Run some errands, Mouse traps. Wet spots on carpet. Et cetera. I sent a maintenance request, so the water should be on when I get home.
4 pm. Catch the bus. Walk home. Check the lock on the front door, drop the backpack, walk into the kitchen, turn on the kitchen faucet.
And now, NOW, unfortunately is when the conspiratorial side of my nature begins to ride me like prize pony.
I gave my lease manager notice at the end of September. I will not be renewing my lease. I am moving at the end of my lease term, because of the recent rent increases. And now this, a voice whispers softly in my ear.
This is retaliation. They turned off your water because you gave notice.
I know? Almost crazy, right? Because who would do that? Most people would not do that. There is someone, someplace who would do something just like that, to spite a leaving tenant, but that is not where I live, but…
Thewater shouldn’t still be off. This is a maintenance problem. Why is it not considered a major problem?
I need to shower. eat, brush my teeth, Drink water. This should be treated like an emergency, almost. It should definitely be a high priority. And…
I started to think the worst.
But, I am a civilized person. No running down to the front office with a baseball bat for me. I know how to act like an adult. I call the front office again.
I get the off-hours operator again. It’s sounds like a different guy. He sympathizes with my situation and tries to contact the maintenance man while I am on the phone. No answer. He promises me that he will get in touch with him and tells me to expect a call, shortly.
I sit at my desk in a cloud of conspiracy theories and mild shock. How is this possible? What rational reason could they have for leaving my water off? A phone call. A maintenance request. They know. And they haven’t done a thing about it.
I was pissed.
And even more so when I looked at the clock and saw that two hours had passed (in what felt like ten minutes), No maintenance man. No phone call. Back into the kitchen. No water.
It IS retaliation!
Back on the phone with the after-hours guy. Well! He was just as shocked as I was that no one had contacted me. Let me try to get in touch with him tight now. Oh, he isn’t answering the phone. But. I will keep trying until I get him, and he will reach out to you, shortly. He said just with just the hint of a smile in his voice.
And I believed him.
Two hours later. No maintenance man. No phone call. No water.
I felt helpless. I won’t lie. What could I do? “They” could turn the water off whenever they pleased, for as long as they pleased, and I couldn’t od a thing about it. I couldn’t even get them on the phone. I couldn’t get them to return my calls. I am just going to have to live without water until they decide to turn it back on.
It was past ten by then. And I had no water. I was living on bottles of Hi-C Fruit punch and Orange Crush soda. I hadn’t showered. I had not been able to cook anything that required water. I hadn’t been able to wash dishes.
I was so angry, I couldn’t eat or sleep. My food went cold on the plate in front of me before I noticed. I reheated it twice, then just gave up and forced myself to swallow a few spoons of applesauce, to have something on my stomach.
I sent another maintenance request online and then I lay in bed, tossing and turning and trying to shake the feeling that I was being harassed and persecuted.
I wanted to call someone, but I didn’t know who to call. I wanted to go off and show them who they were dealing with, but I have no idea who that is, so…
Somewhere around 2 or 3 in the morning, scrolling Google, drinking decaf coffee, I decided to write a letter to the management, outline my problem and actions over the last two days, and their inaction and negligence. And then, according to the website I was on, if they didn’t turn on the water within 14 more days, I could try to get the water turned on by a third party and charge them for it.
This is turning into a Storytime.
In short: I went to work, printed the letter, left work to put it in the front office mailbox before it opened, stopped at McDonald’s before going back to work (McGriddles are the best thing on the menu), and spent the rest of the day seething and plotting what I would do if the water was not on when I got home.
Drop my backpack at the front door, go straight to the kitchen, and try the water. If it is still off? Rush, not walk, to the front office before it closes and have them explain the delay to my face.
I rode the bus to 47th Street with Mike and chatted like nothing was wrong, walked home from the bus stop as quickly as I could, opened the front door of my apartment, dropped my backpack, rushed to the kitchen and turned the cold-water knob on the kitchen sink.
I could not have been happier. Confrontation is not my thing.
And, really, even now I don’t understand it. How did they neglect to turn on my water, return my calls, and not contact me for two days?
What is a rational, legitimate reason for that?