Thursday, November 17, 2005

Our DISASTER


Sometimes in life there are disasters. Hurricane Katrina was one such disaster. New Orleans practically wiped off the face of the earth. Large gambling ships in Biloxi blown onto the beach. Sea animals blown into parking lots. These are huge disasters. Era-defining disasters. Then there are other kinds of disasters.
Little teeny tiny disasters that only seem to have their effects felt in the tiniest of microchasms. Take this little dog here to the left, Kate. Kate broke her leg. Did you know about it? No? Why not? Her owner, Michael, felt so sad and destroyed that his dog had an accident that he posted an entire webpage on the internet discusing the dog's accident and chronicling her recovery. You mean you didn't read it? Well, needless to say, neither did I. This disaster (large though it may be to Kate's family and friends) did not affect my life at all.

How about this disaster here to the right? Extremely high gas prices. Staggeringly high gas prices. Did this disaster affect you? Does this image echo in your heart and wallet? Most likely it does. For me, though, this image was just a photo on the web
, a blurb on the news, a bitch session from my family. Why? I have no car. I live completely at the mercy of the ever so wonderful New York City mass transit system, MTA. Our loving subway runs on electricity, so gas prices did not affect fares. Our busses and cabs run on gasoline though, yet Mayor Bloomberg would not let fares rise in order to protect his precious economy and tourism revenue. Cab fares are still reasonable. Prices have not risen one penny. Gas prices in New York City never shot up. Now the unthinkably high gas prices that have always been here are about even with the rest of the country. Payback? I think so. All those years of tourists driving here only to scream, kick, spit, and yell when looking at the prices at the Sunoco or the Gaseteria. (Gaseteria is my favorite of the gas stations. One thinks of a toothless woman wearing a hair net dispensing gas and mashed potatoes). Now after all of this dissertation on disasters, I have a disaster of my own to share with everyone.
Just the other day, I awoke, took a shower, got dressed for work like I always do. When I was standing at the bathroom sink brushing my teeth, I happened to
look up at the ceiling and noticed that the ceiling appeared to be sagging a little. I stood there in my "before noon" haziness and contemplated if the ceiling always sagged like that and I never noticed it before. Then to test it out, I jumped on top of the toilet and placed my hand on the sag, and it felt like it gave a little. Note that I did not press on the sag. I decided to call the landlord. After telling them that the ceiling appeared to be sagging, and having her ask "what do you mean sagging" and me explaining "Sagging means that it is hanging down a little bit from where it used to hang before." I hung up and went to finish getting dressed before leaving for work. Then I heard it. It sounded like the ceiling fell in. Well, the reason it sounded like that is because that is exactly what happened. The ceiling fell in. Thats the photo over there of what our bathroom looks like now. Note that it is much cleaner now than I found it. When I went to investigate the sound, there was half a ceiling hanging down from the ceiling, and there was gross shit and black mold all over the bathroom. Thank God our toothbrushes have covers on them. After I called the landlord back to tell them that the ceiling indeed had fallen, they came over and speculated that it was because the upstairs neighbors had been using too much water in their bathroom...like washing clothes in the floor or something. That was all they said. They also said later that the ceiling had to be left open for several days to dry out. Meanwhile...there is still debris and black mold falling from the ceiling onto the bathroom floor. Justen and I both have horrible allergies, but most importantly, little Naomi has allergies. And she is so little. That's her over there being all little and stuff. Now, not to sound persnickedy (sp.) or anything, but shouldn't we be given some other answers? Shouldn't we be given some BETTER answers? Shouldn't we be in the Ritz-Carlton now with a view of the park? Okay maybe not a view of the park, but at least a view of the city. Shouldn't we be furious? Well, we are furious. Shouldn't we go upstairs to the Walker's apartment (not their real name..its a pseudonym because they walk constantly all around the apartment..24 hours a day) and beat them senseless. Or at least cave in their ceiling? How can we get catharsis for OUR disaster? When will FEMA arrive to help us? (well its only day 2. They didn't go to New Orleans till day 3) Shouldn't Anderson Cooper be over here crying and interviewing us while CNN presses cameras into the gaping hole in our ceiling through which you can see the upstairs BATHTUB? Shouldn't our landlord at least had the decency to call after the maintenance men left to say "We're working on it" or "You have to let it dry out" or "Did you understand the maintenance men? I know that English is not their first, second or third language." Did any of this happen...NO. Anderson Cooper is not here. FEMA is not here. Our phones have not rang. All we know is what broken Spanish Justen could scrape out of the maintenance men. I guarantee you if the ceiling fell in at THEIR apartment, it would be fixed. I guarantee that the LANDLORD wouldnt have to stay in the apartment with black mold falling from the ceiling. Don't we deserve better than this?

1 comment:

Brooke said...

hey daniel - its brooke. do you have a copy of your lease? if so, check it out to see what they say about black mold. Usually, there is a paragraph expilicitly saying they must find you suitable temporary housing if black mold is discovered in your apartment inside the inner workings of the walls and such.