Just a Day in the Life . . . Sunshine, Deaf ears, Too much Chat
It’s been unseasonably warm here this past week and although warm, not often sunny. But this day was sunny and hot, and I wanted to do some writing and step away from the computer so I decided to spend a few hours in the afternoon down at the pool patio to catch some rays while being productive. Well sort of productive because all I wound up writing was this little afternoon episode. What I hadn’t planned on was getting my eardrums broken, or social interaction.
Let me preface this by saying I rarely go sit outside at the pool where I live and if I do it will be on a Sunday afternoon when I’m not at my sister’s backyard hanging out. I never previously went down during the week, always working in my office with the computer. But I thought I’ll start going to the sundeck to get some Vitamin D and work on a tan and get some good solitary writing time in. I thought. . .
The condo development I live in has a lot of empty nesters and seniors who have downsized thus, not many hang at the pool with an exception of a few regulars and busier on weekends with visiting grandkids. It was Thursday afternoon and I expected to be the only one there. Wishful thinking.
To get to the sundeck, I must walk through the women’s changeroom through the indoor pool area, leading to the outside huge 2000 square foot patio/sundeck. I wasn’t yet out of the changeroom when I heard a drilling engine-like noise coming closer with every step I took. Once I entered the pool area I saw one of the building’s maintenance caretakers power washing the patio with a thin-nozzled hose attached to a generator. When I got out on the patio it felt like I was standing beside a helicopter with the engine on. The fumes coming out of that generator were toxic and my ears felt like they may burst.
I didn’t spend half an hour getting ready to go to the pool, getting my work tools ready and my sunbag packed with phone, water, towel, lotion and 2 books and walking over to the next building to listen to that while breathing carbon monoxide. So, I got my chair set up, well away from the generator, although that didn’t put a dent in the sound and pollution. And further down the deck I noticed ‘Yappy’ lying in his spot.
Now that I was settled in my chair I wanted to catch the caretaker’s attention because I wasn’t about to put up with the noise while trying to write. I could see the caretaker was not even half done the patio. I also surmised that at the rate he was going, it was about one square inch per minute, he’d need a good three full days to finish that patio. He was diligent, getting that nozzle in between every single crack surrounding each interlock brick. Of course, he was wearing earphones, but I wasn’t. When he turned his head, I waved at him. I tried to scream over the generator “turn that off” but he obviously didn’t read lips either. I then proceeded to play charades and signaled him to turn off the machine and take off his headphones.
Before I began the game of charades, Yappy screamed over to me that he’d put up with that ruckus since the morning and all of the day before while he worked diligently on his George Hamiltonesque tan. I knew he was a sun-freak by the bragging he does the rare times I go to the deck and he’s always there, blabbing to whoever will listen to him. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have to hear the same things repeated by him – he’s got a girlfriend, 35 years younger than himself, he took off work for a year (he’s around 60), he’s traveled everywhere, he eats in many fabulous restaurants, and he’s been living in the building for 20 years. He reminds me of the stereotype ‘Sammy Miami’ with his dark tan and old-school bachelor attitude.
Yappy could see by the look on my face I wasn’t too happy. I asked him why he wouldn’t complain to management. I added I didn’t comprehend why they had to power hose on two rare sunny days where anyone could be at the pool when there are more cloudy days than sunny, which would also be more comfortable circumstances to stand out all day in a worker’s jumpsuit and rubber boots is beyond me. He responded by telling me he couldn’t be bothered and kept his headphones on to drown out part of the noise.
By the time Mr. Caretaker got my message and turned off the machine, I told him he must stop because our eardrums were breaking, and we were breathing in toxic fumes. I wasn’t feeling too friendly, but I knew, the man now intimidated by me, was just doing his job. But I told him to call the management office and tell them there are complaints. I also told him to tell them that we pay a lot of rent to live here and this isn’t right. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed. After he hung up, he packed up the machine and left.
If given the opportunity, Yappy is happy to initiate a conversation. I made sure to sit a good 50 feet away from him. I’d have moved to the complete other end had the generator not been there. And as soon as the caretaker left, Yappy perks up with his usual snarky laugh and tells me how ballsy I am. “I don’t think you take any shit from anyone,” said Yappy. He continued to blab and I looked at my notebook and gave him the odd nod signaling I was listening.
While he was blabbing about everything under the sun, he managed to mention something about the U.S. in comparison to Canada. I commented back something sarcastic about dOnald tRump and he retorted with, “You don’t like Trump?”
By that time, he was grating on what felt like my last nerve and I shouted to him “Don’t get me started about him.” Yappy wanted to get into a discussion about politics and he was the last person I was going to talk to about them. He continued to try and tell me why he loved tRump and I was ready to throw a shoe at him but screamed over his screaming across the patio to repeat (about 8 times) that I have zero interest in wasting my breath to a cult member. He finally got the hint. Alas, silence.
About an hour had passed in silent bliss when I saw Yappy from the corner of my eye, packing up his stuff when a dark cloud hovered. He stopped by my chair and advised me to pack up because the sun was gone for the day. I bid him goodbye, picked up my pen, and within minutes that dark cloud dispersed, revealing unobstructed sunshine. And along with the clouds went Yappy.