Today is pre-disastered.
At least that is my hope.
I get to work and all things are going the way they go. Not saying good or bad, just going. I notice the requisite amount of broken glass around the parking lot so status is just going. I sweep and pick up the glass as happily as one can.
Once that chore is complete, I spend a little time easing into my day. Check to see if there’s anything in email I have to deal with. A request for jokes, a submission request, a request to introduce one person to another. Things that have to be paid attention to but nothing that’s more than just going.
Before opening I grab the default notices which, on the way to get my coffee, I’ll wander over to place them in the appropriate mail receptacle. I wander back toward the building and see a broken 40 ounce bottle on the ground. I’m thinking there was no way I would have missed that while picking up shards earlier when I hear from the bus stop,
“He he. Sorry, Chris. I dropped it.”
It’s a tenant. One of the many believers in modern and no so modern pharmaceuticals. I smile while tossing the glass in the barrel.
“Shit happens. Have a nice day.”
I don’t give him much thought. After all, that’s the most lucid sentence I’ve had from him in a month. I just keep going. This time to get coffee. I get back to the office, toss up the happy go open sign and begin my day.
Two minutes later the door opens. It’s the guy who dropped the bottle. He’s asking if he can use the restroom,
“My rents paid.”
I don’t bother telling him that it is, in fact, not but I also wouldn’t stop him from using the restroom. After all, on the way in, I saw four piss stains dotting the walls. I’m not saying they were his, I’m just saying, if I didn’t let him in, the fifth would have been.
I continue to open the building when, after about ten minutes, I remember someone came into the building. It’s part of my job to keep track of the comings and goings of people who enter the establishment so, not knowing if he is here or gone (I know he’s not at his unit because I didn’t turn the light on) I walk towards the bathroom door and whiff something frowned upon within legal society.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOMBOOM!
“Get the fuck out of there right the fuck now!”
I calmly interject while gently rapping upon the door.
After some stumbling and thrashing I take it upon myself to unlock the door and kick it open. Sprawled next to a broken crack pipe is the tenant.
“Here are your choices, get the fuck up, get the fuck out because if I have to put my hands on you I will make sure your skull comes into contact with every inch of concrete from here to the middle of the fucking street.”
He unfocuses on me while I stand there. I can see he is conversing wildly. Not verbally, but I’m sure he thinks he’s getting his point across.
I, on the other hand, not having such verbal limitation, take one step into the close quarters and bark,
“Move or I will move you!”
I’m sure the booming of those words through this echo chamber was much worse for him because he crawled and scratched his way toward the door. I stepped back to allow him to gather to his feet and scuffle out of the building.
I watch to make sure he’s outside before looking at the mess of the bathroom. We don’t get many people attempting to use this room as more than what it’s designed for so this is beyond my level of normal cleaning. I’m not saying better or worse, I’m saying beyond. Honestly, it’s actually cleaner and easier but I’ll leave that image to your own version of public toilet cleaning hell.
I sweep up the glass, crack and give it a disinfectant swab before going back to the office. I look at the clock and hope that, forty minutes into my day, the next eight hours and twenty minutes is disaster free.
But, as we’ve come to know, I have no hope and even less luck.
The guy walks back into the building and, I can only assume via his feeble attempts, is trying to impart some information, exceptionally vital information it seems, to me. The problem is I am not multi-lingual. Even if I was, I’m sure not one of the institutes of higher learning I went to taught a language quite this high.
After six minutes of standing there with someone sounding like an Ellen Jamesian from ‘The World According To Garp’ I come to the conclusion that I must do something to extricate this person from the building before other people come in and assume I am much more tolerant to human foibles than I truly am.
“Shut the fuck up!” I say pounding my fist on the counter. I have learned over my vast number of years that speaking to people calm and rationally is of little consequence. But making loud, startling sounds commands attention.
“From this point on I will give you two choices. Choice one,” I increase the volume of my voice because, aware that I’ve used about a dozen words, I have reached the limit most fairly stable people can absorb. I’m sure I’m a dozen words over for this guy. “Leave now. Quickly. And without sound. Choice two,” I bellow. “I call the police.” I pause knowing I’ve hit a keyword. “They will be here momentarily.” I pause again knowing his brain has only heard ‘police’ and ‘momentarily.’
After much collecting of whatever invisible shit he’s placed on the counter, he weebles out of the building. I follow him to the door, fight the urge to put up the closed sign and lock it, while watching him serpentine across the loading area, continue unabated past the bus stop, straight into the traffic clogged street undeterred, until he trips over the sidewalk and crashes into the newly painted building across the street.
From the safety of my building I watch as a good samaritan leaps out of his car to render aid and comfort. I also watch as the guy, just as rapidly, surveys the situation, sees that everyone in traffic is ignoring his deed, takes one last look around, doesn’t see anyone watching, so gets back into his car and motors away.
I watch the guy drive away and wonder if, when he tells the story, he tells a tale of concern and compassion or, like me, he says,
“Please be the disaster of my day!”