08 December, 2009

Good Floods Make Good Hyprcri- er, ...Neighbors.


There's nothing better to heal your spirit and get back in touch with Nature than to awaken to the sound of gently falling rain.  Unless it's at 4:30 am, on my head, in my bedroom!

Apparently a plumbing malfunction occurred one floor up and one flat over from mine.  As it always must be, said occupant was inconsiderately away, dead, or simply not answering the door for whatever reason. Excitement ensued with the building president shutting off the water to stem the tsunami and yours truly being delegated official picture-taker of the flood (for insurance or strange voyeur fetish, I couldn’t say).

Interesting thing about that last part. I’ve been living in my apartment building for over a year now, developing the assumption that I must be a pedophile, drug-dealer, Finance Minister or some other lowest form of life, and it’s just that everyone else knows it except me. My friendly smiles as we pass at the lift are returned with suspicious glares, my “good morning” is met with an intolerant grunt, if not outright disdain. I’ve long stopped expecting so much as a halfhearted “thanks” when I hold the front door open (which, despite this, I will refuse to stop doing), and when I ask someone their name I get a response suited to a request of oral sex. In a septic tank. On an incontinent tree sloth. Around here, "being neighborly" exclusively means notes on your door thteatening to call the police about the noise after the single time you trip over your coffee table during a midnight call to nature.

But on this particular soggy morning, they all, to the last individual, not only already knew I was the building’s resident shutterbug but all at once, I was in the highest demand, being met with actual eye contact, dare I say gently entreating smiles, and addressed by name, even unto “Domnule” ("Mister") nonetheless!

The flat next to mine got hit bad, being directly under the action, transformed into a grotto that would have done any statue of Saint Mary proud. I couldn’t be upset about a few drops and wet marks on my ceiling, cliche as it was, being perfectly centered over my dormant dome. But water found its way down through 5 floors of solid concrete to puddle up inside the lobby. Now that was impressive! Even more impressive, I suspect, will be what gets done to fix this mess… another of life’s lessons in communal living, I guess. And another apparently-needed reminder that I gave up a 3-story house on 40,000 meters of land in New Jersey for this…

UPDATE: The explanation given is that the yabos upstairs left water running while "they went to work." 4:00 am implies a night shift, and "they" implies more than one person working it. Leaving that high degree of coincidence alone for now, let's work the logistics.  Under normal circumstances (which this apparently was), a toilet will stop by itself and so will a washing machine. I suppose you could consider "turning off the faucet" a mere option in defining yourself done with the dishes, shower, toothbrushing, etc. but in those cases, the water would drain and nothing would flood, so no harm to anyone except your water bill which you'd richly deserve anyway. This narrows it down to something that needs to be actively plugged, which leaves us with a bath (tub) or a shave (sink). Even so, you'd likely have shut off the water because it would have overflowed WHILE YOU WERE STILL THERE and you'd probably notice. So this is my final quandry: What kind of running water can you walk away from and NOT NOTICE?

VERDICT: Grand Theft Oxygen. Sentence: sterilization by opened microwave oven.

In these decrepit crumbling blocs, claiming a "busted pipe" would have been 100% plausible and even garnered some sympathy. Instead, we get "uh, we forgot." What is that? That doesn't even save face. It shouts to the world, "We're incomprehensibly stupid and/or careless!" Worse, it shouts this to the poor folk living beneath them. Ah well, I'm told they paid for damages. At least some, namely the downstairs flat.  If they wanted to address ALL the damage in this situation, it would require some fairly expensive lobotomies...

P.S.: One photo of water dripping from the neighbor's ceiling light has become the banner of this blog. It sums up my general mood about life here...