Gather 'round, my readers, and I will tell you a tale! A tale of incompetence, broken promises, chicanery and unpleasant odors!
Several times during the month of April, my apartment building was without hot water. At least three times I had to go to work with an unsatisfying cold shower. When this happened, I simply washed my hair, face, pits and undercarriage to avoid freezing my nuts off. Apparently (and much to my dismay) the resistance to extreme temperatures forged by years of 8am outdoor swim practices had forsaken me. After several complaints (including one by me) the management finally responded in the form of this letter given to all tenants:
I suppose $200 is a nice gesture. But honestly...how long does it take to purchase and install a water heater? And what kind of new hot water heater would require a permit that takes more than a week to secure? We're not installing a hot tub time machine here. (Although that would rule.) About a week and a half after the previous letter, the following was posted in the building elevator:
TWO FULL DAYS to install a hot water heater? This means I'm assured of at least one more arctic shower on Wednesday morning. At this point, I'm becoming curious to see this monstrosity. Upon further reflection, I decided that if the management hired people with the skill level of the usual "handyman" or "plumber" sent to make repairs to my apartment, then it would take the same number of men to install this water heater as it took to erect the Great Pyramids. Honestly. I have a metal transition over the line where my kitchen tile meets my carpet, and after nearly three years they STILL can't secure it tightly.
So Tuesday morning comes, and cognizant of the 8am deadline, I get into the shower just before 7:30am. After I'm thoroughly wet but not yet soapy (I'll give the ladies a moment here to imagine me getting soapy in the shower. La la la. We all good? Okay, let's move on.) the water turns ice fucking cold. A half hour early. I used my anger to quickly wash before the heat on my skin totally dissipated and on the way to work I decided that the letter posted in the elevator needed to be tightened up just a bit:
Of course, this meant that I'd have cold showers on TWO consecutive days. Simply unacceptable. Not, however, as unacceptable as what I saw in the elevator upon my return home on Tuesday night:
THREE days to install the hot water heater? THREE mornings with no hot shower? That's not just unacceptable, it's comical. Screw the people in Darfur. I want Sally Struthers and Bono here with barrels of hot water ASAP! And fancy soaps! The kind that smell like grandma's perfume!
Even as beloved a personage as myself cannot arrive at work with three days of stank on me. A solution needed to be found. And lo, it was. As it happens, I live two blocks away from a 24 Hour Fitness location. Gyms have showers. Hot showers. And they frequently offer free trials. A quick visit to the 24 Hour Fitness website confirmed that I could secure a free 7-day pass. Thursday morning I hustled over to the gym and sincerely expressed my interest in a new and healthier lifestyle. I dutifully endured the 30 minute tour/hardcore sales pitch and said that I would certainly think about it. Trainer Kristen shook my hand and told me to enjoy the gym and speak to her on the way out about my experience. I made an immediate beeline for the showers. I quickly undressed, anticipating this shower more than about half of the Christmas mornings in my lifetime. I hit the stall, cranked the dial toward "hot", and reveled in the...ICE COLD water. NO. NO, GODDAMMIT. NOT HERE TOO!
After about two minutes of filthy language and frantic gesticulation, I realized that the "hot" and "cold" ends of the shower dial were incorrectly marked. "Cold" was "hot". Soon, hot steaming water, sweeter than milk and honey, flowed over my stinky skin. The feeling of relief was like that of an orgasm or a massive crap. After twenty thoroughly satisfying minutes, I dressed and snuck past Trainer Kristen to make my escape.
The hot water in the building indeed came back on Thursday night. Ingenuity had seen me through these dark hours. And I will be reminded of my experience for years to come, when a representative from 24 Hour Fitness calls every 8 hours until the Sun's explosion into a supernova reduces the Earth to a cinder.