Allow me a moment to rant about my personal life. One of the things I most hate about renting is getting things fixed. Yes, it’s nice that we don’t have to pay for the repairs and materials, but between myself and my Dad I bet I wouldn’t have to pay for repair services very often. I’m good with tools, better than some of the guys I know, and I’m not scared of figuring out how to fix something if it’s not obvious.
In any case, the light in our pantry broke before Christmas — it wouldn’t turn on. We called it in to the landlord’s answering service, and never heard anything back. This evening as I was in the midst of preparing a lasagna, the doorbell rang. Since I was the only one home and was not expecting a guest or a package, I almost didn’t answer it (there’s an election coming up and I was wary that it would be a canvasser). I decided I really should get it, though, and turns out it is a random repair guy.He was here to fix the broken light in the pantry . . . right around the time when many people begin fixing dinner. Great. Excellent timing, thanks for calling, come on in.
To top it off, we had a very stupid exchange before he actually came in, involving him asking me questions that didn’t quite make sense and me not knowing how to answer him until I figured out what he was actually talking about. That really annoyed me because I came across as an idiot, since the questions boiled down to things like “Is the fixture broken in such a way that it needs to be replaced?” I’m not an idiot. I could have fixed the damn light myself, except I don’t want to pay for things that I will then leave behind me when I move out of this apartment, such as light fixtures.
Anyway, I was really annoyed by his timing, and by the fact that we are almost never notified when someone is coming by to fix things. I’m not sure if this is because the requests go through so many channels (we call the answering service — answering service talks to landlord — one of them calls appropriate fix-it service — service sends out repair guy) or if it’s just the nature of repair guys to not make appointments (as in “Monday evening”).
The timing tonight was very, very annoying, but it’s been worse. Twice they have shown up in the late morning, when I have been home alone. Once I was in the shower (butt naked). Another time I was in bed just waking up (might as well have been naked). Do I need to point out that it’s unnerving and scary to suddenly hear a strange man banging on your apartment door (which opens immediately onto the bathroom door and my bedroom door) and yelling to be let in? And that the rooms I’m in aren’t locked? And that this is never, ever preceeded by their use of the doorbell at the vestibule door?
Hi, I’m a young, attractive, scantily clad woman home alone and caught off guard. Please, strange man who’s larger than me, do come in to fix that thing that could have waited until I was at least fully clothed. (Or better, had left the apartment entirely.) At least now I have pepper spray (same chemical federal agents carry!).
Anyway, the pantry light is fixed, and in fact the pantry is now better-lit than the rest of our kitchen. He also fixed the towel bar, which had at some point in its life been pulled out of the wall on one side and taken a chunk of plaster with it. Thus there wasn’t really a whole lot to screw it into and it was constantly falling down (moreso recently, at which point I got mad and took it down entirely).