Saturday, March 8, 2014


Devoted to waiting for our Super to fix the radiator that leaks, having been
told he would be here in the morning before ten, and as requested, having turned the
radiator off last night. I phoned at 9 as he'd asked--waited, and again at 10--waited. At
11:30 I asked management to beep him--waited. At 12:30 I left a note for him on my  
door, and went out for local errands.
At 2:30 entering the building, there he was, and there too was the landlord's daughter.
He muttered "You got me in trouble". I apologized, saying, I only called to have you
beeped 'cause you weren't responding. He said he would be up in a half hour. I
congratulated the Landlord's daughter on her pregnancy and we did a 'High five'.
She's so happy, and, I'm happy for her. So I took up waiting again. worked on a story
draft till 3PM, when I phoned him, and left another message. Went downstairs and
asked his wife where he was. She thought maybe doing something with the boiler. At
3:40 he came up, saying I wasn't home when he came by. It took him just ten minutes
to tighten the join.
Then, probably annoyed by my persistence, he moved on to a new topic. He said he
was going to take my air conditioner out this Summer because pigeons roost under it.
I jokingly said "Not in the worst heat of Summer I hope", and also that I hoped he would
have the removal and re-installation done carefully because "I can not afford to
replace it". By the way, there are no pigeons 'nesting' there since 'peg leg' died, and I
don't feed them any more either, but they still sleep on my fire escape window as well
as other window sills at night. Last year he wanted to remove the A/C in the hottest
month, but I couldn't do without it. He hung metallic owls, but it made no difference to
them. He said, "They shit all over", and I said, "we'll talk about the air-conditioner when
the weather warms up a bit. i have to move stuff out of the way." Suddenly, visibly
agitated, he marched into the front room where the air conditioner is. "Your air
conditioner is on!" he exclaimed. "I'm using the fan to circulate air" I replied. "I'm
gonna turn off your heat if it's so hot you need a fan. You're wasting the heat." "What?"
Then, as he picked up his tools, he added, "We're gonna take that damn air-
conditioner off from the inside or the outside, fucking bitch", slamming the door hard.
Okay, this isn't the first time he's been thoughtless, invasive, and abusive over the
past years. I'm not actually afraid of him, just that I forgot about his temper. I
challenged him, and he snapped, sort of 'swarmed' all over me. I watched myself feel
shaken and wounded, and went down to talk to his wife, who remained nice, but said
he and I should work it out. She was inwardly laughing I could see. She's seen this
before. He doesn't like appointments, even three hour windows for appointments. He
likes having a key, and the ability to come and go as it suits him whether I'm here or
not. He hates restrictions.  I hate
being treated disrespectfully.
My 'expectation' of how things aught-to-be tripped me up.  I'd felt 'entitled' to politeness.
What a fool I can be.  Silence would have been a better response. I felt grief, then anger.
He fixed the leak.
It's my fault the pigeons came to feel safe on my windowsills in the first
place. I like them, and just love the chortling sounds they make. But they are messy,
and it's not my property. I'm going to start chasing them away poor things. No more
wild life on my windowsills. When the weather warms a bit, I'll move things away from
the window and attempt to facilitate letting the super do whatever he has in mind to
do. But, I will be quietly present for the work. Meanwhile, I'll research what might be
the best deterrent.  Maybe a pet owl, or
trained assassin doves.
When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone
by Galway Kinnell

When one has lived a long time alone,
one refrains from swatting the fly
and lets him go, and one is slow to strike
the mosquito, though more than willing to slap
the flesh under her, and one hoists the toad
from the pit too deep to hop out of
and carries him to the grass, without minding
the poisoned urine he slicks his body with,
and one envelops, in a towel, the swift
who fell down the chimney and knocks herself
against window glass, and releases her outside
and watches her fly free, a life line flung at reality,
when one has lived a long time alone.

(from NPR the Writers Almanac)

I wasn't going to post this.  Changed my mind.
Please do not share


Joan@CopperCreeker said...

sending you hugs and comfort. life is hard enough sometimes without (excuse me) ash*les like your super. his job as super. 9-3:40 and just a 10 min job. again... assh*le. you were reasonable in your actions. KARMA will get him.
i relate so much with the poem you posted. (((HUGS))) think thoughts of soft warm spring breezes wafting the smell of new green life and know someone in Kentucky is wishing you many Blessings.

Mo Crow said...


Anonymous said...

someone in South Africa is sending you blessings as well. karma can't come soon enough for some people.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

going to read this a few times
to try to see what's really goin on

Nancy said...

Thinking of you (((Michelle)))!

patricia said...

amazing post--walking through the experience with you as actor and observer. thanks for the trip

Anonymous said...

I know how dear some of those pigeons are to you. It is hard not to expect basic courtesy, but you are probably right to mine the field of expectation to see how to work with a sticky situation like this. Hope all is better!