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Movie Reviews

Precipitating Disaster

On Wednesday, the Washington area received some heavy precipitation, and despite the repairs currently underway on top of my building, the hallway outside my apartment was again graced with puddles of standing water. Note that I said "precipitation" and not "snow." "Snow" was the term used by our metro area weather forecasters, who predict snow about twenty times a year, much more than we actually get snowed upon, which is only when it is hideously inconvenient for me. Among Washington area weather forecasters, "snow" seems to actually be a Universal Code Word for "Don't believe anything that comes out of my mouth for the next five minutes."

Though some will assert that the forecasters are merely feeding the Washington area's enormous appetite for snow anxiety, I will note that Giant Food and Safeway are major advertisers in all area media outlets, and they seem to benefit most from forecasts of snow, as paranoiacs who do not understand the concept of "melting" load up on staples as if the Federal Emergency Management Agency will declare martial law and house arrest immediately after the first flake falls. Perhaps Giant and Safeway instruct the weather forecasters to say snow is coming when they have massive, otherwise unsalable surpluses of bread, milk and toilet paper. I only note possible motives.

Anyway, because we had the liquid kind of precipitation, we had puddles of standing water in the hallway, just like every other time in the last two months when we have had liquid precipitation. Although I have ceased to be surprised by the puddles, I nonetheless find them strange, as there are two floors in between my floor and the top of the building, which seems like a lot of building for water to travel through. In addition, there is some sort of exterior, horizontal wall called a "roof" on top of the sixteenth story, whose duty is apparently to keep weather on the outside of the building. It's not doing a particularly good job, unless the sight of rain causes the residents of 1231C and 1232C to go temporarily insane and fill buckets with tapwater and heave them into the hallway, in which case we should probably excuse the roof from blame. But I doubt it.

This is probably why we have had roof repairs going on for the last two months. Although the management company has been studiously silent about the whole thing, I can tell there are roof repairs going on because of (a) the weird machine next to the 7-Eleven whose job is apparently to melt tar and send it up a little pipe sixteen stories, except that it doesn't work all that well and occasionally dripped onto people coming back with Jamaican beef patties from the 7-Eleven, such as myself, before they put a little shield under it; (b) the huge chute for (I guess) the old, broken-up tar coming from the roof, which makes a charming noise like a jet engine spinning up when anyone drops anything down it; (c) the construction workers commandeering the freight elevator with the smelliest chemicals you've ever gone woozy from and attempting to mack on the cleaning women; and (d) the noises currently making their way through two stories to serenade me, which sound like there are about thirty workers attempting to find out which sections of the old roof need to be replaced by dropping wheelbarrows full of bowling balls on it and seeing what breaks.

Apparently, everything breaks.

I am not against roof repairs, although the noises were somewhat annoying while I was writing report and review after report and review on Monday, and caused a perhaps unscholarly number of first-draft sentences to end with the phrase "please, Lord, stop the horrible clamor above me." I do not particularly enjoy feeling like I am fording a small creek when I stagger, brain-dead, out of my apartment to go take an 8 o'clock a.m. exam the night after a mild rain. But I feel like my building should at least send around some sort of memo saying, "We're sorry for the massive inconvenience, in the form of noxious odors, unremitting rackets and lecherous laborers, the roof construction is causing." Their silence on this issue seems somewhat suspicious, and leads to untrusting thoughts by yours truly that they're just trying to get all of us to quit our leases in disgust so they can rent our apartments to new tenants at higher rates. This whole "repairing the building" thing, after all, could be nothing more than a snow job.


All this tasty writing ©2002-11 by Andrew Lindemann Malone. All rights reserved.