Friday, March 6, 2015

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain (‘cuz he happens to be me)


Okay, I’m making a confession here; since quitting my job back in December, taking a shower hasn’t been my first priority.  Wait, wait—that’s not what I meant!  I still take one everyday, it’s just not the first order of business when I get up in the morning.  Now it’s “wash my face, brush my teeth, make some coffee” so I can sit down with a cup and watch a little Good Morning America.  I don’t hop in the shower until 9:30 or so.

And that’s just what happened this morning.  Around 9:30, I switched off the tv, jumped in the shower & am lathering my head when I hear a thumping noise outside the bathroom; what was that?  No matter—I may live alone, but this is an apartment building, not a big empty house.  I continue washing and what the—SOMEONE IS TAPPING ON MY BATHROOM DOOR!  (I leave it open when I shower.) 

After jumping hard enough to knock the shampoo bottle out of the shower caddy, I hear a man’s voice: “I KNOCKED BUT NO ONE ANSWERED.”   He’s almost shouting as the water’s still on and I’m standing behind my shower curtain in disbelief.  He says “MAINTENANCE, I HAVE A KEY TO GET IN IF NO ONES HOME.”   I finally say “WHAT DO YOU WANT.”   He says “HERE TO CHANGE YOUR FURNACE FILTER.”   I finally have the sense to turn off the water.  I say “Uh… thanks anyway, but I take care of that myself.”  He obviously doesn’t believe me, because there’s a pause, then he says “These gotta be changed every couple months.  These are specialty-sized filters.”

I reply “Well, I just did on Sun—WILL YOU GIVE ME A MINUTE PLEASE.”  He says “Yeah, I’ll wait out here.”  Yeah you do that!  I wish I’d asked him to come back in a few…

I get out of the shower, cross my small bathroom to get the towel hanging on the back of the door—this guy is standing right outside the doorway!  I hurriedly wrap the towel around my middle.  He holds up a silver & white square and says “See?  No one around here carries this size.”  I shake my head.  “That’s a 13 x 17, the hardware store right up the street keeps them in stock.”  He says “This is NOT a 13 x 17.  Whatever you’re usin’, it’s not the right filter.”

I stomp past him, on my way to the closet near my front door.  I pull it open with one hand (while attempting to preserve what’s left of my dignity with the other) and reach up to the top shelf, to a large white plastic bag with ‘Best’ on it’s front.  As I pull it down, five furnace filters tumble out and I start to reach up with both hands to catch them, and you know what, this fool is getting a real show!  


After tossing them on my dining table, he picks up one of the filters and compares it to his.  He says “Okay these are the same size… where’d you say you get these again?”  Before I can shout UP THE STREET, THE ADDRESS IS RIGHT ON THE DAMN BAG he asks “how often do you change yours?”  I say once a month.  He says “okay that’s good, you're a conscientious tenant!”  

Yes and also an angry wet one!  Annoyed   It’s not like I’m ungrateful, but he’s a stranger, I’m pretty much naked & I don’t recall anyone offering to change my filter before today.  For all I know, it’s harvest time for human organs.  Why yes, I do have a spare kidney, why do you ask?  

Anyway, as I opened the door to show him out, he says “Do you know if the tenant next door is home?”   I said “I think so but he works nights so he’s sleeping right now.”   He said “Oh okay… I’ll try again later.”   Uh!


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