September 14, 2008

For want of a title, Surprise!!

So it's raining like a freak up here cos of Hurricane Ike (no I'm not in Texas but rain travels don't you know) and I'm sitting here listening to the whirrrr of my a/c and various sirens charging throughout the city. But what I just heard in the hallway is a tad more disturbing than that.

Apparently, one of my neighbors is having a problem, cos he just said this on his cell phone:

"Dude, my apartment smells like burning plastic. Like something is going on with the tv, the tv is melting or something, it's hot, and the place smells like burning plastic.....I don't know. My whole apartment smells like it. It's the worst smell ever, burning plastic. I don't think I'll be able to watch the game...oh, the elevator's here, lemme call you back."

Okay. So I'm sitting here listening to this thinking, "Oh sh*t, is he next door? Am *I* going to smell the burning plastic? Did he turn off his tv? I hope he did, there could be a fire. Oh sh*t. Actually I think burning flesh probably smells worse, but...okay, wait, what am I thinking?! Wait. He's worried about missing the game? He's leaving his apartment? Please let him have unplugged the tv!"

**Btw, everything after that paragraph above was lost and goddammed if I can remember any of what I wrote, so I have to redo it and I HATE rewriting shite, especially if I can't remember it in the first place. So the second offering below, I apologize for, and blame everyone for. Ahem.**

Whew. So I was wondering if it was my next-door neighbor who was having this problem, but then figured it probably wasn't, because there's a girl there too, I know because I heard them having a screaming match before work the other week. He called her dumb and yelled at her about money, she cried she wasn't dumb and said that he was rude, and then obscenities flew and he sounded like the kind of guy who could beat the sh*t out of someone and it made me glad I was single. I mean I may be alone but at least no one is going to call me dumb or beat the shit out of me.

Anyhoo, so you know how my building got a new media room? I think I mentioned it when last I blogged about my refrigerator(s). Anyhoo, we now have a new courtyard. Building Manager Lady has been harassing folks about coming to this barbecue to celebrate our new courtyard. She's been pestering everyone all the time whenever she sees them, to "come to our party on Friday." I mean I haven't seen anyone push that hard for anything in a long time, and I used to live down the street from some Jehovah's Witnesses church.

Apparently our new courtyard is at the back right of the building, past the fitness room, which I've never set foot in before, and probably wouldn't ever see if I didn't have to go to this barbecue thing. I think BML said they've been cleaning out the junk and stuff from the alley or whatnot, and getting plants and soil for it and she's really excited about it. Besides her verbal promotions, there have also been signs with different colored balloons on them in the elevators, and invitations with fancy script shoved under everyone's door, reminding us that all the food and beverages will be provided. I don't know, I mean I guess free food is always a draw, but maybe when you're out of college, it's less so.

On Friday after work, I was greeted by BML at the door. She let me and this other guy in so we didn't have to use our security fob things and she took the opportunity to say, "So after you get settled, you are coming back down for the party, right?" To which we both said we would. Other Guy sounded non-committal, but I felt like I owed it to Building Manager Lady to show up. Plus I was curious to see what the hell the courtyard looked like. It also looked like Building Manager Lady maybe had her hair done for the occasion, and it looked pretty good. I think the ash blonde color suits her better than the reddish brown did.

After I dropped off my crap at the apartment, I kept on my turquoise rainjacket with the porpoise (dolphin?) on it because I didn't want to be standing out in the rain. I mean I was sick last week and the last thing I need is a relapse. When I got off the elevator, I followed the balloons along the wall and the signs with the arrows that said "Party this way" and the smoke in the hallway. I went through the fitness room (Hmm...weights, a tv, some machine thing) and stepped through the door and found myself outside. They really had gone all out. There was some blue tarpy thing, tent-style, so we wouldn't get wet, but I kept my jacket on anyway. I mean I ordered it from the National Wildlife Federation and you can't get them anymore but that's another story for another post I guess.

There were long tables set up banquet-style/smorgasbordy, and some lady I didn't recognize was manning the meats. Her job was to ask party-goers, "Hot dog, hamburger, chicken, veggie burger?" and she did her job well. I was overwhelmed. Partly by all the choices, and partly from all the smoke coming from the grills a few yards away. The tables had buns, silver warming dishes, condiments, watermelon slices, other fruit stuff I wasn't interested in, and two big cakes, one of which was chocolate with little red round cherries on top. Next to the table was a metal tub of soda cans. I noticed they had both Coke and Pepsi, and wondered if they took them from the machine in the laundry room. Now that I think about it, they probably didn't.

There was a little radio boom box thing playing some music, this really annoying song that I couldn't get out of my head the other week but would be hard pressed to tell you what it was. I think they used it in an episode of "How I Met Your Mother."

I walked the length of the courtyard (it's not that long) and went to say hi to Miguel (a maintenance guy whose English could be better, but then, so could my Spanish) who was grilling. I didn't see Building Manager Lady yet and I knew I needed her to see me before I could leave.

There were chairs lined against a stone planter wall thing and a few groups of folks were chatting. I figured they already knew each other. Another few folks were sitting alone, chomping their fare, hunched over, avoiding eye contact. I planned to emulate them if it came to that.

It came to that. I couldn't just stand there idly, and I don't feel right busting up someone's chomp-alone time, so I went back to the table and let the lady ask me, "Hot dog, hamburger, chicken, or veggie burger?"

"Wow! That's a lot of choices." I thought I heard someone say steak back there near the grill, but... " dog, I guess."

"Pick a bun."

"These tongs require some skills. Skills I don't have." Yep, I can be counted on to make mundane comments in almost any given situation, but I still maintain that those tongs were slippery.

She opened the silver warming dish thing and I saw humongous hot dogs. I don't think they were really hot dogs, they were probably brats or something. Humongous they were, and my heart sank because I really didn't think I'd be able to eat the whole thing. Oh well.

I sat down a chair away from this girl who looked about as out of place as I felt, and took a bite of the link. No condiments, but I did manage to grab a Coke. After a moment, I saw BML coming through a door with a plate of cheese singles (yum) and some other crap. I debated my next move, then ultimately went with it.

"Hi, BML, everything looks great, you guys did an awesome job!"

"Oh thank you for coming! Thank you for stopping by!"

"I'm still feeling kinda sick so is it okay if I go up? I just wanted to pop in to see how it looks..."

"Oh sure, feel better, thank you for coming!"

On my way out, I saw a trash can, but didn't feel right about tossing the dog, so I manuevered my way back through the fitness room, plate and Coke in hand. I'd forgotten to get my mail earlier, so I had to balance that stuff while I opened my mailbox. It totally wasn't worth it--no magazines or even a catalog to read. I ran into some girl and asked her if she was going to the bbq. She said that if she didn't, BML would never stop harassing her about it. I said that's pretty much why I went myself.

Upstairs in my apartment, I could hear the strains of laughter and unintelligible chatter for a few hours. I guess the party was a success. And I even ended up reheating that ginormous hot dog in the microwave, and you know what? It was pretty tasty.

And I guess by now you've realized that I still haven't bought a condo and that I re-signed my lease here. In the end, it just seemed like what I needed to do for right now. And I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that I had an interesting conversation with BML one Sunday afternoon in late July, the Sunday before the Friday that the lease was due.

I had been kibbitzing outside my building, chatting with some guy for a while, while BML was loading and unloading this big van. I waved to her, and then when the guy left, I helped her bring in the heavy potted plants she keeps outside the main entrance. Apparently they bring them in every night because the security cameras once caught a resident doing some bad shite to them. I don't know if the plants were pissed in, or just flipped over, or the pots were broken, but it's also the reason we don't have the four screens on the closed-camera channel anymore. Instead of being able to see the vestibule (to see who wants to gain entrance to the building) and the main desk lobby area, and the laundry room, and the elevators/mail area, now we only get to see the laundry area and the vestibule, and worse still, it's no longer split-screen, so it keeps jumping back and forth every few seconds. It's really annoying but I guess I shouldn't complain...I mean at least I can still see the laundry room to know when it's free.

Anyhoo I was helping her bring in these heavy potted plants (translation: I held the door open for her while she dragged them) and she said she had a surprise for me. A surprise? Usually when someone says 'surprise' my first thought is: something bad! I don't know why.

She said I would get it when I returned the signed lease.

That's dirty pool, don't you think?

I wondered what it could be. Maybe the surprise would be they'd lower the rent. I didn't dare to hope it might be something else....

Later that week, I dropped off the signed lease.

"Thank you!"


" said you had something for me? A surprise?"

"Oh. Well, I was going to arrange something nice for you, I thought you'd be signing on again, and I wanted to do something nice for you. But it isn't ready yet."

"Oh. Is it still a surprise or can you tell me what it is?"

"It's something nice. I think you'll like it. It's for your apartment."

"Oh...okay. Well how will I know what it is, so I can say thank you? Will I notice it?"

"Unintelligible stuff I don't remember."

I left the office that day hoping they wouldn't be repainting, or that she wouldn't give me a basket of incense or something.

About a week later, I came home from work and noticed the surprise. It was hard to miss. Its angelic whiteness lit up the place and I felt aglow.

It was a BRAND-NEW white Frigidaire. That's right, not a fucking HotPoint, a Frigidaire! That means frigid as in cold, air. Not HOT as in why is my frozen food hot!

It was big and beautiful and I fucking loved it. I also kind of thought that's what the surprise would be, especially since on the way to work that morning, I'd seen some weird truck and a guy rolling a fridge off of it, but hey you never know.

I went downstairs to thank Building Manager Lady for it. My grin was so wide I felt like I had the mumps. I thanked her and she said I deserved it and blah blah blah, totally awesome. It's cold. It's beautiful. It's roomy. And it's BRAND-SPANKING-NEW!

So, you can see why I had to go to the barbecue. And I just want to say, I totally would've blogged about getting the new fridge, I even had a title picked out. "A Tale of Two (or Three) Fridges." Or was it Fridgies?

So there you have it. The Summer of Flapjam ends better than it started, and I gotta say, now *that's* what I call a surprise!



Blogger Hannah L said...

You make me giggle, flapjam. Just what I needed this insomniac eve ....

12:36 AM  
Blogger H. said...

Hey Hannah, aw, you removed your first comment but tsk I already saw it, they sent it to my email. No worries. Well thanks anyhoo for the pleasant comment. Ya know, it's always just stuff 'bout my apartment and that is just where my stream-of-consciousness took me. The opener just led into all that stuff. :D
Hope you get to sleep, chickie!

12:51 AM  
Blogger Who Am Us Anyway? said...

If you put a gun to my head & said, quick, tell me your favorite sentence from Flapjam's latest, I think I'd have to go with:

"There were long tables set up banquet-style/smorgasbordy, and some lady I didn't recognize was manning the meats."

That killed me. I think maybe because the sentence rhythm somehow gives it a kind of Raymond Chandler suspense noir vibe even as it also says smorgasbordy.

11:33 PM  
Blogger H. said...

LOL!! That's hysterical, I had no idea. I just reread that and it *does* sound like a film noir narration or Chandler thing! Hee hee. I'm going to see if the rest of the post works like that. Thanks for pointing that out!

9:11 AM  
Blogger Jelly-Filled said...

Congrats on the new fridge! You'll have to stock up on some of those enormous hot dogs now. :0)

7:22 AM  

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