Reason I’m glad I’m moving number 53,473,242,984

by sam on 07/20/2005

Of all of the myriad of problems about my current apartment that I have not discussed before, one of them is the blackouts. The 11th and 12th floors of my building (I’m on 11) run off of a particular building circuit down in the basement, which trips on a regular basis. It’s been doing so since April. The only person who has access to the electrical panel, which is under lock and key, is the Super, Mario (and yes, we’ve all made the requisite Nintendo jokes already). The power has gone out, pretty much at least once a week, going on 3 months now. This week, it went out on both Monday night and Tuesday night. Monday wasn’t so bad – Mario was home so it was back on in about 15 minutes. But last night? was the last straw.

See, part of what happens is that the power in all of the apartments goes out, but the hallways, which are apparently on a different circuit, stay on. So everyone stumbles around their apartments to open the front door so that it’s not quite so dark. And then we all hang out in the hallway creating, essentially, a mob effect. Well, last night? 15 minutes go by and Mario is nowhere to be seen. I try calling both his home phone and his cellphone, and get voicemail in both places. I try buzzing the doorman but get no answer. So I finally trudge downstairs to ask the doorman what’s going on. First, apparently our buzzer system is broken, which they didn’t bother to tell any of the tenants about (brilliant!! so much for, you know, security!). Second, apparently Mario is "out". And no one else can fix the problem. So we’re all stuck in our non-air conditioned apartments (did I mention that it’s been in the 90s, with about 120% humidity all week?). Doorman claims that Mario will be back in "5 minutes". 20 minutes go by while I’m standing in the lobby. Mario finally shows up, to, now, a mob of angry tenants all hanging out downstairs.

When he finally comes upstairs to check the second panel (which is on 11), I mention that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to call ConEd. He shoots back that it’s not a ConEd problem, it’s a building problem, and over the past two months he’s made repeated requests of the management company to hire an electrician to fix the problem, but doesn’t seem to get any response. Maybe if we all called in the morning, we’d have better luck…

So at 10 this morning, I call Windsor. Finally get transferred to someone who knows what’s going on – apparently I’m the fourth person to call (go neighbors!). She responds to my questions with a very chipper "well, you’ll be really happy to know that we’ve scheduled an electrician for Friday morning." I, of course, respond in my total bitchvoice (trust me, I’ve got one – it’s the one that I use when I know better than to yell at the customer service people, but want to really convey my aggravation), questioning why they didn’t hire someone when Mario first alerted them to the problem, months ago, as opposed to waiting until they got a whole bunch of phone calls from pissed off tenants.

She then jumps down my throat not to use "foul language" with her. I am actually at a loss as to what she is referring to. Apparently in her really tiny little world, no one should ever say "pissed off". I mean, come on. If part of your job is dealing with angry tenants who have problems, in the notoriously ugly New York real estate environment, you really need a slightly thicker skin than that. So, in the interest of helping her along, I responded,

"I’m sorry, but ‘pissed off’ is not foul language where I come from. Now if I had said that I was ‘fucking pissed off’, that would be foul language."

She kind of backed down at that point, even though she had no answers for me. I also, of course, pointed out that while I have no more rent to pay (and hence, had none to withhold next month), I was not averse to explaining to all of my neighbors (perhaps during the next blackout!) what an implied warranty of habitability is.

But the best part? I get home tonight to a flyer in the building stating that the electrician is coming between 7 and 10am tomorrow, and all electricity in the building will be shut off during those hours. Way to inconvenience your tenants even further! I’m fairly certain that those are the hours in which the greatest number of people in the building are trying to get ready for work.


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