Tuesday, March 20, 2007

mama bear

Jenny and I arrived home tonight after a day of movies, Spy Museum, drinks and dinner with friends to find my front door wide open.

To be entirely fair, we were given a bit of warning. I got a voicemail from my leasing agent that they were showing my apartment to a prospective tennant tonight, and then another message that, um, the front door was, um, having problems locking. But that, um, it was shut and if I was really worried, um, here's the number for the emergency repair line.

To clarify: the leasing agent himself did not call the emergency repair line. He left the number for me, not knowing where I was, on my voicemail. And made it sound as though the lock was perhaps jammed or maybe there was a penny stuck in the frame, instead of what was actually going on.

As we stepped in the front yard and and pushed the rusting gate aside, I saw through the cobwebby dark that my iron gate was shut but that the warped wooden door was waving open in the breeze, leaving a gap of at least a foot. "Oh my God," I yelled, scrambling to open the gate. "Sadie?! Sadie, honey?! Baby girl?!" Jenny ran into my bedroom and started turning on lights, calling for the cat as she looked under the bed and I stood tree-like in the kitchen, livid and terrified at the same time. I heard traffic whizzing by on the street through the open door. It didn't even occur to me to be thinking about either of the MacBooks sitting on my coffee table or the pearls my grandfather gave me for high school graduation.

I suddenly heard an indignant "mew!" from behind me and whirled around to see Sadie darting through the bars of my iron gate. Much cuddling followed, and not a few tears on my part. Once I calmed down enough to stop apologizing to her, and once Jenny had poured me a glass of Bailey's, came the anger. Anger that only exploded over when I looked at the door more closely to see that in the nine hours since Jenny and I had left the house, the wood between the deadbolt and the knob had somehow completely split down the middle.

It absolutely turns my stomach that someone would be okay with just leaving someone's door open, especially when that person has a stated responsibility for the property. Especially when he would try to cover his ass by leaving a voicemail with an emergency number for the tenant to call when 1) she has no idea what the damage actually is and 2) he has no idea when she will receive the message or return to the property.

What absolutely causes my blood to boil over the edge of the pot of anger and onto the stove of screaming, righteous indignation (I should not be allowed to metaphor while furious) is that he did not give a second thought to the fact that I had a pet living in the property. That as far as he was concerned, it was fine to gamble that my cat would just not go outside if the door happened to blow open. And that, even if she did, well, she'd probably come back. Right?

And yes, she did come back. She came back when I called her because she is infinitely smarter than the idiotic, irresponsible sack of jackassery that didn't care that she might escape in the first place. The one that didn't notice that the DOOR HAD SPLIT DOWN THE MIDDLE.

The one who allowed a situation where myself, my little sister and my cat now have to sleep in a basement apartment with a broken door because no carpenters are available to come out at 10:30 on a Monday night.

Of course, he was also stupid enough to give me his cell phone number when he left that second voicemail.

Now, I'm not generally a vindictive person, nor am I the type of soul who relishes it when someone gives me bad service and I can rub their nose in it. Why, our waitress at dinner tonight kept touching various members of our party and saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over. I tipped her 22 percent. With most people, I figure that if their lives are bad enough that they're going to take it out on me, a complete stranger, then their lives are tough enough without me stiffing them or yelling at them or making them feel bad about who they are or what they do.

It's also rare that i get angry just for the sake of making my anger known. I find myself more likely to do this as I get older and become more aware of the fact that because I'm a single and generally pretty polite woman, people are less likely to take me seriously or be afraid of what will happen if they don't make me happy. When I get angry it's usually with the goal of getting something done, to achieve a pre-defined end. I'm not terribly good at hearing "no" as in "no, there's nothing we can do about this now." There is something that can be done in almost every bad situation, and "no" usually means "I don't want to" or "that would be a huge pain," neither of which is the same as "there is no way this can be done."

However, I make the rare exception to this generally positive approach to life. This is exponentially more likely to happen the more that you mess with my people. I have a tremendous mama bear side that will spring to life when you fuck with the things and people I love. And God help you if I find out that you were callous with my personal safety and that of those who I love, because not only will I hold you responsible but I will make you feel so awfully, personally responsible for all that bad things that COULD have happened that they might as well HAVE happened, so great will your guilt be.

Two phone calls to him, one phone call to his director and one phone call to the head of the agency later, and this guy is probably regretting not spending the evening sitting cross-legged in my front yard watching for a whisker poking out the front door.

Of course, I am still left wishing that Jenny and I had chosen another movie besides Zodiac.

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