I live in an old building. Old being built in 1922 for apartments, converted and sold as “new and improved” condominiums in 1976. It is now 2012. The only date My Reader needs to remember is: OLD. Nine floors of oldness: old wiring, old plumbing, old elevators, old toilets, old creaks and groans and every now and then…old gripes retold with renewed but loud spirit.
One does not live in this building unless one really, really, really loves all things OLD…
Which brings me to yesterday, Sunday. Typically a day of rest with or without religious content. Typically.
[Now is a good time to insert primary vital information: the building manager is out of town. We are, all nine floors of us…on our own if something breaks in our very old building.]
I’m going to keep this simple and to the point.
All hell breaks.
The elevator won’t move past the first floor. Or anywhere. It just sits. Still. In place.
The toilet in the “guest room” springs a leak. No flushing. Please.
The steam radiator on the 8th floor is leaking and water has soaked the 8th floor lobby carpet and is now a problem on top of another problem.
There’s a security issue: an unknown woman wants in our old building. Voluntarily wants IN and not OUT?
That was yesterday. Sunday.
Today is Today: Monday
Building Manager remains in that foreign country, Dallas, Texas. I applaud her travel sense and wish I were there, too. Texas? Maybe not.
Telephone calls to repair peeps have been made.
Plumber Dispatcher Peep-Guy calls. Wants information on leaky toilet and I explain in factual plumbing language:
The water hose that comes out of the wall and connects to the main shiny part just below the horizontal flusher that sticks out on the left side is squirting water out of the end of the hose that goes into the main shiny part.
Is this a one or two piece toilet?
One piece…you know…like a prison toilet but probably older. The toilet. Not the prison
Make of toilet?
Crane. Sante Vitroware. Old Italian toilet. Like in an Italian prison…a really old prison. It’s white. The toilet. Not the prison.
(To myself….Shite what’s with the pauses? Is he writing this down or what?)
Is there a water shut off on the wall?
No. There is no as in none water shut off coming from the wall.
Another pause. Longer one. Then…
You realize we may have to shut off the entire building water supply in order to fix this toilet?
[Now is a good time to insert secondary vital information: The visual and audible memories of our recent non-scheduled all building water shut-off…are at best…ugly. Really ugly. It is a true-story bad (did I mention ugly?) event and to do a rerun…so soon…is unthinkable.]
[Insert: words that came out of my mouth and into the earpiece of the Plumber Dispatcher Guy’s telephone.]
Oh, no. And, then…
Thinking that I may have overstepped my vocabulary bounds with this peep-stranger on the phone trying to help us…I pulled in the expletive reins and said,
Then I forgot myself completely as the memories flooded (ha!) my mind with visions of death-to-the-water-shut-off-messenger as the building community geared itself up for the early morning starting the day shower ritual…and reverted to:
Silence from Plumber Dispatcher Guy on the other end of the telephone.
Oh, sphuck…disguised f-word…what have I just done?
…to be continued…