April 02, 2008

The printer ate my telephone cord...

...and other tales of urban life.

The weirdness began before Mexico. The No Exit personae were just one stop in the strange confluence of events that has been my life of late. (Hell is other people.)

It may have started the day the telephone cord inadvertently fell into the ink-jet printer, swallowed whole permanently. Bye-bye phone cord. Bye-bye printer. Hello Staples? What do you have in the way of new all-in-one-machines?

Print color documents, fax, scan, copy, enlarge, reduce, read memory cards, tap-dance, what have you. All the machine fails to do is Windows.

It does VISTA. I do not. Note to self: get XP drivers. Download from Web site?

When I packed for Mexico, I could not find my suntan lotion. I had the car service driver stop at the local 24-hour chain drug store at 5 am so I could pick some up en route to the airport. You don't want to know who else shops at that hour. I didn't.

What else? In my absence during the No Exit experience, I have a house guest arrive. My best friend from grad school is in town from Switzerland, where she has emigrated with her second husband.

America is on sale, and she has the empty suitcases to prove it. She is awake when my housekeeper, who is from Poland, enters. While I am sleeping, they discuss their respective situations as immigrants.

It is not, I admit, a coincidence that occurred to me, that they share emigree status.

Later in the day, after my guest leaves, the infant downstairs starts crying. I put on the Rolling Stones to muffle the noise. I dance to Satisfaction. CC, my best friend, is chez moi, her dog in tow. Shamrock barks to show her annoyance at the baby. The Visiting Dog Service of New York has arrived.

My one-bedroom apartment has no place for a baby except a walk-in closet. The couple downstairs, whose layout is identical to mine, failed to receive the memo informing them that the time to move out is between the conception and the delivery.

They complained once of noise from my apartment. I suggested the doorman read them the riot act, and they take it up with their landlord. They aren't supposed to be able to rent in this building anyway.

The Visiting Dog Service will return as needed. CC will teach Shamrock to stop barking when downstairs teaches their child to stop crying. Or when they move the the kid into their bedroom. It (gender undetermined) lives in the dining area, where I have my office. The wailing makes it hard to concentrate.

I am unreasonable, but not completely so: dining areas are for meals and entertainment, not for infants' slumber. Bedrooms have windows and closets, neither of which is included in the layout for this apartment's dining area.

By Wonderland city code definition, a "room" has windows; an "area" that contains them is rare. The floor plans don't call the dining area a slumber nook.

Just as I never enjoyed my upstairs neighbors' domestic disputes, I do not enjoy the downstairs child. Had I wanted to marry or reproduce, I would have. Neither experience is one I need to have vicariously. Years ago, had there been one more thud from upstairs, I was ready to call 911, fearing spousal abuse.

I set up the new all-in-one and realize the sole purpose of the fax machine. It's is for CC to send prescriptions to her pharmacy in Paris and me to do the same with mine a block from here. Without our meds, we wouldn't need it.

Then came the bizarre phone message: in my line of work, I have had clients ask me to be their executor, or a trustee in their wills. Depending on the circumstances, I may agree. Today, a stranger from upstate left a message: would I consider being a trustee if he and his wife died? I am not sure what to say when I return the call.

Do I start with, are you out of your mind? Or, are you terminal? I have no idea who this person is, much less whether I will still be working when his need for a trustee arises. Or why he would want to entrust his finances to a stranger. This is not where I would begin the conversation.

Where would I begin? With the digested cord? VISTA? The 5 am lotion stop? No Exit? The emigrees? The Visiting Dog Service? The dining room child? The fax discovery? The trustee request?

This week an expose of my prep school has made the cover story of Wonderland magazine, much to my amusement, following the Spitzer denouement on its cover two weeks ago.

One class ahead of me, like most of my fellow graduates, he was filled with the arrogance and hubris imparted with the diploma. I suspect, too, that he never got laid during his days there. That strikes me as a reasonable explanation for his choice of paid companionship.

Where will it stop? Please: someone, anyone, a clue?

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Blogger the only daughter said...

There is one 1-bedroom condo unit in my building. A few years ago a woman large with child -bought- the unit. Her child was housed in what was the -dining room / home office- until he was nearly 2.

This room did have a window.

7:47 PM  
Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Be afraid, very afraid of Vista with an old computer. Dig through some of the old articles from the tech guy in the WSJ. It may even be time to consider a Mac.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

You know what they say. Just cut the cord.:)

6:52 PM  

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