“We’re starting a new account today,” Crew Leader Carl said, as we turned into a grungy apartment complex.
“Oh, yuck,” I said, peering out the window. “I know this place.”
“You do?” Carl asked.
“Yeah — unfortunately,” I said. “These apartments are horrible! When I moved back to town after graduating, I checked this place out. It’s old and deteriorating, and the unit I toured had shag carpet that smelled like cat urine. The kitchen cabinets also had some weird zebra-stripe pattern from the Seventies, and the dishwasher and refrigerator both were ancient and yellow and older than me. It made me sick! There was some sort of mold growing in the bathroom, and when I looked behind the stove, the wall was covered with orange splatters that looked like earwax.”
“I don’t know if it’s quite that bad,” Carl said, as we cruised through the lot.
“Oh, trust me, it is,” I said. “The property manager I was talking to was a young woman, and while I was waiting to see her, her redneck husband stomped in and started yelling at her in front of me. He said he didn’t care what she was doing or how busy she was: he wanted his effing lunch right effing now. I think she and him must have lived in one of the units, as part of her compensation, because he appeared from nowhere. I didn’t even know what to say. I just sat there, stunned.”
“Hmm,” Carl said.
“Look at that,” I said, pointing. “That apartment has its laundry flung over the patio to dry. And look at the exterior paint! It’s all cracked and chipping. What a dump.”
“Everyone needs a place to live,” Carl said.
“Yeah, but this place is a real hole,” I said. “It has that rundown, shoddy look at tells you it’s filled with nothing but lowlifes, degenerates and reprobates. If they could do something, like maybe slap a new coat of paint on the outside, then maybe it wouldn’t look like such a miserable cesspool.”
Carl eased the truck and trailer into a couple of empty parking spaces.
“Well,” he said, killing the engine, “I’ll be sure to tell the property manager all that when I pay my rent next month.”