Was it karma or just poor maintenance?

Recently I spent a few days in relative’s apartment in a big city. We went to see some baseball and had the place to ourselves. The games were great, but I’m not going to talk about that. (Half of you probably are sighing with relief.) What you might find interesting is the odd series of uncommon events that occurred.

The first morning we discovered that there was no hot water in the kitchen and that the water in the adjacent bathroom was only dribbling out of the faucets. So we called the building superintendent. When he arrived he looked around, opening various cabinets and wielding his wrench like he was going to battle. I had misgivings when he started to mumble about shut off valves. I was in the next room when he said, “Have you got a bucket?”

As I ran over to him I saw water gushing across the floor. One dishpan and bucket later he managed to kink a hose from a nonexistent washing machine into a loop. This stopped the flow and some duct tape secured it. He said he was going to call a plumber. He said shut off valves did not exist in that apartment so we just had to hope the tape held.

The plumber was due the next day but first the super showed up again and, to my dismay, began poking around again. After a while he noticed that a shelving unit above the toilet had concealed hinges on the side and when he pulled on the shelves, the whole thing swung out from the wall to reveal a shallow alcove containing FOUR shut off valves. We had to laugh at this. When the plumbers came they were able to fix the problems.

So after the flood, who would expect another totally unexpected bit of misfortune? But apparently, one can not be too smug about one’s circumstances. That afternoon I heard sirens outside on the streets below. That’s not unusual in a large city, so it wasn’t until the sirens increased in number and volume that I went to the windows and looked down. I saw a fire truck heading toward our building and realized I smelled smoke and told my partner we should take heed. He went out on the balcony and said, “Those trucks are in front of this building!” YIKES!

No alarms had gone off in the building but when we looked out into the hall toward the elevators we saw smoke. Definitely time to evacuate. We decided to leave, maybe just go to the ballgame early, grabbed our stuff and walked down 13 flights of stairs. (You might wonder at the set of priorities here, but it IS the playoffs!) On the way down we ran into firemen who told us the fire had been put out and that we could stay if we wanted to. But it was too smoky and we really would have to leave soon for the ball park. The building lobby was flooded but we didn’t see anything else out of the ordinary. Once we got outside we were not allowed back in and no one would tell us a thing. So we just went to the game.

And you would think, NOW, surely, nothing else would happen out of the ordinary. However, in the second inning of the game, the back fell off my seat. I just leaned back gently and suddenly there was nothing behind me except the legs of the person in the next row. It would be an understatement to say I was dumbfounded at this turn of events. The seat was repaired about 30 minutes later after we contacted one of those people who roam around to deal with those things.

And you would think…. do I have to even finish? The game went well, our team won and we headed home on the subway. After exiting the train we got on a very long escalator that takes you up to almost ground level. This is to avoid about 4 flights of stairs. But when we were halfway up on the escalator it stopped working. The only thing to do was walk up the stalled stairs to the top, and those stair risers are taller than normal stairs so it wasn’t exactly what I felt like doing at almost midnight after a somewhat stressful day.

I am happy to report that the rest of the trip went fine. Whether all this was a blip in my karma or the result of angry elemental gods or just random bad luck, I leave to you to decide.

~ by mickeyhoffman on October 11, 2019.

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