My Week 30 – Obnoxious Chairs, Bathroom Shenanigans, and Vitamin Water

Tuesday: I give my chair a stern talking-to

Last week, I got a notice that there would be a company coming around to service the coil fan units in my building (for some bizarre reason, whenever I say it in my head, or try to say it out loud, I say “foil can”—apparently I have HVAC dyslexia). I hate having people come into my condo when I’m not there, because I worry about being judged for cleanliness, aesthetic taste, and how things smell when I’m not there to make excuses like “Sorry, I was cooking with garlic last night”, or “I just moved in—sorry about the mess”. So on Monday night, I made sure not to cook anything too spicy or fishy and lit scented candles. Then on Tuesday morning, I tidied up extensively, emptying all the wastepaper baskets, straightening up the cushions, putting the dishes away, and making sure that everything was either centred or at the right angle (I like to have things on a particular angle–for example, the chairs at my kitchen table face the room at 45 degrees, and the couch cushions are tucked into the corners of the arms to create equilateral triangles. This is what I learned from 3 years of high school math, aside from how to calculate tips, or figure out how many square feet of tile I need for a kitchen backsplash). Everything looked lovely, and hygienic, and correctly angled, so after one last spray of Lavender Vanilla Febreze, I left for work. When I got back later, fully expecting to have had my coil fan unit serviced, I found two notes on the bench by the door. The first note said that the unit had been entered in my absence for the purpose of maintenance. I appreciate this type of note, because the management company also leaves one if they have to come in without any warning, like when Cindy next door flooded her apartment and they came in to check for leaks. Then I know to give the place a really good search instead of just looking under the bed for intruders. But then there was the second note: “Unfortunately, we were unable to service the coil fan unit due to an object in front of the service panel obstructing our access.” WTF? I looked over—the object in question was a small wooden chair, placed on a perfect 45 degree angle to the corner and about a foot away from the service panel. This was the OBSTRUCTION? You’re telling me a grown man couldn’t have slid the chair over a few more inches? I could move it across the f-ing ROOM with one finger. The situation was so ludicrous that the only possible explanation was that the chair had somehow come to life and had refused to cooperate. So here’s the conversation that the chair and I had:

Me: What the hell did you do?
Chair: What? Nothing. What are you talking about?
Me: Did you see this note?
Chair: That note is bullshit. I didn’t do anything.
Me: It says you were obstructing the panel. Care to explain?
Chair: I wasn’t obstructing it—I was PROTECTING it!
Me: From what?! They were here to clean the foil can—I mean, the coil fan unit. What happened?
Chair: They didn’t look like service guys. One of them was carrying a gun. I think they were Mafia hitmen.
Me: A gun? What?!
Chair: No, they were from the Secret Service. I think they were trying to put a spy camera in the vent.
Me: Why would anyone want to put a spy camera in the vent of my condo? That’s ridiculous.
ChaI: No, it’s not. You work for the government, remember? You took an oath of allegiance to the Queen.
Me: What kind of government secrets could I possibly know?
Chair: You could be a sleeper agent and not even realize it. You should be grateful. I saved you from possible torture. You should have seen me—I was all intimidating and wood-y. I was just about to start kung fu-ing them when they got scared and left.
Me: They’re coming back next week. I’m putting you on the other side of the room and I want you to stay there.
Chair: Fine. But don’t blame me if nude surveillance pictures of you start showing up on the darkweb. Also, they were making fun of your decorating. I believe the phrase was “eclectic—but not in that GOOD way.”
Me: You’re such a jerk.

The next day, I re-read the notice in the elevator, and in the fine print, it said that the “HVAC technicians are not allowed to touch personal objects.” Since when is a wooden chair a personal object? I would assume that this statement would apply more to things like not going into your bedroom and fingering your lingerie, or using your toothbrush. So now I have to go through another round of intensive tidying and Febrezing because some service guy can’t move a chair 6 inches. Even if the chair is an obnoxious ass.

Wednesday: Bathroom shenanigans

For the last week, I’ve been working off-site at a large convention centre. There are hundreds of other people at the site, and only one women’s bathroom. At my usual workplace, I can time my visits so that there’s little chance of anyone else hearing me pee (you can think this is weird if you want, but there are a LOT of people who find that uncomfortable), but this week, I’ve had the “pleasure” of using the facilities with a lot of unusual strangers:

First, there’s the woman who speaks to the tap. OK, in fairness, she talks to a lot of things, but the tap must be the best conversationalist of the bunch, because they have some pretty intensive debates. I get that she has some mental health issues, but it’s still disconcerting to be in a stall, overhear two people arguing in angry whispers, come out, and realize there’s only one other person in the room. I was fully expecting to find the word REDRUM scrawled on the mirror in lipstick (Stephen King reference, y’all).

On Tuesday, I went into the bathroom and a woman hid behind the corner near the hand dryer when she saw me. It freaked me out a little, but then I realized that she was talking on a cell phone. I figure it must be a really private conversation, so I did what I had to (as quietly as I could, of course) then left. About an hour later, one of my colleagues came out of the bathroom looking really worried. When I asked why, she said, “When I went in, some woman ran and hid behind the corner and she stayed there the entire time. It was weird.” When I told her the same thing had happened to me but over an hour earlier, we decided to get the security guard to check it out. It turns out that she was one of the facility workers and was trying to avoid doing her job. Which was serving coffee. Yes, I would love a cup of coffee passed to me by someone who has been hanging out in the BATHROOM for two hours.

Next, there was the woman who, on Wednesday, asked someone how the tap worked. It’s one of those taps where you have to put your hands under it to activate the water. This worried me—how did she go three days without USING the tap? Icky!

On Thursday, I was in a stall, and suddenly there was a camera flash from the stall next door. What the heck? I looked down and could see the shadow of a cellphone in someone’s hands. My first and only thought was that she must be breaching security and taking pictures of confidential material. I lingered at the hand dryer and watched her stall surreptitiously. I could see her moving around and then raising one arm above her head like she was stretching. When she came out though, she wasn’t carrying any papers or documents. Strange. When I told my co-workers that I had seen a flash, then saw the shadow look like she was texting the image to someone and that I was worried she was stealing information, they started laughing hysterically. “She was taking pictures of her ladyparts and sending them to someone!” a colleague exclaimed. “You’re so naïve!” (Actually, she said “hoo-hoo” instead of ladyparts, but some of you might not be familiar with that word, hence my substitution of “ladyparts” for clarity). I guess I AM naïve—how sexy is it to take a picture of yourself when you’re on the toilet? Is it some kind of Shades of Grey thing? Double-icky! There are a lot of people who absolutely refuse to use public bathrooms and now I understand why.

Saturday: I need the Red Cross

As I write this, I am currently recovering from food poisoning. It started yesterday, and while I’m no longer feeling sick, I have terrible stomach pains. I called my doctor’s office and the nurse said not to eat anything today, but just to drink a lot of fluids to let my system recover. I hate being sick, mostly because Ken is not the best nursemaid in the world. He tries, but it’s just not his forte. For starters, he keeps suggesting that I eat an apple to make me feel better. I know, right? Then I asked him to go to the store and, as per the nurse’s suggestion, get me some Vitamin Water. Which he did, kind of. And bear in mind, I get extremely grumpy when I’m sick.

Me: Do you remember when I asked you to get me some Vitamin Water, and I specified the flavours Orange, Fruit Punch, or Raspberry? Why did you get me Strawberry-Kiwi, Citrus, and Blueberry-Acai? It’s like you did it deliberately.
Ken: There was a sale. They didn’t have the flavours you wanted. Anyway, strawberry is just like raspberry.
Me: No, it’s not! Do you remember last night when you tried to pawn off those Strawberry-Banana drinking boxes you bought that no one likes—I told you then that I hate anything strawberry-flavoured. And the nurse told me to avoid anything acidic, like CITRUS. And Blueberry-Acai—what is that, anyway? I can’t even pronounce it! It sounds gross! What am I supposed to do now? I need something in my stomach! I’m starving!
Ken: Why don’t you have an apple? Didn’t you say that’s what the nurse told you?
Me: Rice, Ken! She said RICE!

Oh well. He has many other fine qualities, and he DID rub my back until I fell asleep last night. Also, he brought my laptop upstairs and set it up so I could lie in bed and write. The Red Cross would never do all that.

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