It was early Sunday afternoon. I wanted to listen to pro-football on the radio. I refuse to get another television. I get more blogging done without a television. I had published several blog posts that morning which made me feel virtuous. When you’re retired, it’s important to have some structure in your life and blogging gave me that structure. I was going to reward myself with football and a 1.5 quart container of ice cream from the dollar store across the street. Even the stoppage in my bathtub could not dampen my good feelings. A young man stood tapping on the glass door of the lobby.
“Is the super in?”
“It’s Sunday. She’s never here on a Sunday.”
“We’re suppose to check out an apartment.”
“I can’t let you in. I could get in trouble for letting someone in who doesn’t live here.”
He pushed open the outer door and walked down the stairs. I stayed in the lobby and watched him through the head to toe wrap around glass of the first floor. An older woman, a baby boomer, approached him. She was slim and tall and walked toward him as she looked at the screen of the smartphone in her hand. I walked outside, down the stairs and the two approached me.
“Hello, do you work here?” she asked.
“I live here.”
“We’re suppose to look at an apartment today.”
“I’ve never known Nancy to show an apartment on a Sunday.”
“I got this email from her that said she would be here and she said she would show us an apartment.”
“I can’t let you in. I might get kicked out for letting you in.”
He said, “We don’t want to get him in trouble.”
“I’ll show you the email.”
“Oh, I believe you.”
“He’ll get in trouble.”
It was a mild, overcast afternoon. I wore a cloth cap pulled down low over my right eye and a hoodie. They both wore coats, hers was a long one like a duster. Their coats and my hoodie were unbuttoned. A mustache and a beard covered his young face. He wore a cloth hat, too. I thought he looked like a hippie. She wore glasses and her dirty blonde hair came down to her shoulders. All the while her attention was on the screen of the smartphone she held. She asked him something and she showed him the screen. He tapped it several times and she got what she wanted.
“What’s her name?” she asked.
“See, here’s the email.” She showed me the screen. “She said she would be here today. He needs an apartment for college.”
“Where are you going?”
“CMU. I got my MFA from Pitt in 2006.”
“In what?” he asked.
“What do you do?” she asked.
“Oh, I’m retired now. I’m a blogger. You’re going to be around for a few days, aren’t you?”
“That’s just it,” she said. “We’re driving back to D.C.”
“What time did she say she would be here?”
“Two,” she said.
“What time is it now?” I don’t own a watch. That’s another story.
She looked at her wrist watch. “Quarter to two.”
“Well, there’s still time. She still may show up.”
“Listen, I’ll take a chance on you. I don’t think you’re going to blow the place up or anything. You can sit in the lobby. It’s just that I could be kicked out for letting someone in who doesn’t live here. The place is under surveillance.” I hadn’t shaved for several days. They may have thought I was a little senile. Whatever.
She went to pull their car around. In the lobby he asked, “What’s your blog about?”
“Commentaries, culture, short stories and topless women.”
“Topless women? I’m all in.”
I reached for my wallet and gave him my business card…
When I got back from the dollar store with my ice cream, I found the young man, the woman and John the maintenance man all getting on the elevator to the second floor. I never take the elevator to my apartment on the second floor; but this time I did.
“Hi, John. I let them in.”
“He was very nice,” she said.
“Oh,” John said, “That’s okay. That’s fine. I’ll show them the apartment.”
“John, my tubs stopped up.”
“I’ll look at it after I show them the apartment.”
“Tomorrow’s okay. I’ll tell Nancy and she’ll make out a work order. Do it tomorrow.”
All four of us got off on the second floor. John unlocked an apartment and I walked on down the hall. As I walked down the hall to my apartment and they entered the unlocked apartment, I heard her say, “He was very nice.”
“Guy? Yes, he is very nice.”
It is always so strange to hear people talk about you even if you like what they say.