Slumlord Jim takes out the trash
Posted by Lissa on January 6, 2009
As some of you know, I used to work the late shift at Ye Olde Financial Company. Well, the sort-of late shift, anyway; I worked 3 PM to 11 PM. (The really-late shift worked till midnight; the ridiculously-late-that-is-early-morning shift had to get rejiggered and absorbed when Ye Olde Financial Company reduced size.) Because I had student loans, and car loans, and I liked to do frivolous things (like “buy food” and “eat food”), I took a part-time job at the Dunkin Donuts in Jennyville for extra income.It was an interesting job, really it was. It was a great insight into the life of a customer service slave, and it gave me a chance to hang out with people I normally wouldn’t. Some of them were genuinely nice, good people who, like me, were working a part-time while going to school or doing something else. (Ahem – the “like me” only referred to part-time-while-doing-something-else. I’m not claiming to be one of those genuinely nice, good people – I put reindeer horns on my cat, let’s not forget!) I tried my best to gives folks who wanted it a little savings education – my Five Minute Roth IRA speech was MUCH in demand – but, when a person earns minimum wage but smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, well, there’s only so much you can do.
Despite the free coffee (BOINGBOINGBOINGBOING!!!!!!), I generally came home exhausted. I’d get home around 12:15 PM, eat a quick lunch and take a shower, then snag a half-hour nap before heading back to work at 2:30. I was tired, sure, but not nearly as tired as some of the folks I worked with – I didn’t start till seven, while the opener had to get there at four-thirty. And it’s not like I was toiling seventeen hours a day in a third-world country or anything. Plus – free coffee! (Bo-yoyoyoyoyoyoing!!!)
I’m merely saying that when, one fine summer day, I pulled up to the Hobbit Hole and found a note from the police on my door, I was really not in the mood.
“Dear Ms. ______,” the note read, “please contact Sergeant Jones at the Hobbit Hole Police Department IMMEDIATELY, as this is an URGENT MATTER.” And a phone number.
You may not believe it, but I’ve not had many run-ins with the law, and all have been mild (i.e. speeding tickets, busted parties in high school, etc.). I don’t do drugs, I don’t drive drunk – I turn into a psychotic Chinese leprechaun when I drink too much wine, but that’s not a crime once you’re of age 😉 So I literally had NO idea what I’d done to piss off the HH police department.
I called the nice Sergeant with my best Ye Olde Financial Company phone-reps voice (see nice Sergeant? I a good girl. Please not get me in trouble, kthxbye) and was told to STAY THERE as the Sergeant would be at my apartment in five minutes.
Pant, pant, pant.
So I’m standing there in my butt-ugly DD uniform, in my incredibly cluttered and crowded Hobbit Hole, when the Sergeant pulls up in his squad car. I invite him to have a seat, and he accepts. (Of course, he was six feet tall, so he couldn’t stand up straight without grazing the ceiling; that may have had something to do with it.)
“Miss,” he told me gravely, “there’s a rather serious problem and the Captain of the department is rather heated about it.”
I scanned frantically about for what the HELL I had done.
“You see, miss,” he told me severely, “we have found your trash in the dumpster across the street. Now, that building used to be the police department building and it still belongs to the city. Dumping private trash there is a serious offense and the Captain was thinking about bringing you in to speak to you about it. Now, I offered to come down here first and-”
“WHAT??? YOU’VE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME!!!!!”
“Um . . . miss?”
“WHEN I MOVED INTO THIS BLOODY APARTMENT THE LANDLORD *TOLD* ME TO DUMP MY TRASH THERE!!!!”
“Miss . . . he did what??”
“HIS WIFE! SHE STOOD OUTSIDE MY DOORWAY AND *POINTED* DIRECTLY AT THE VISIBLE DUMPSTER AND TOLD ME TO DUMP MY TRASH THERE!!!!”
I can’t say who was more dumbfounded, him or me. I was definitely the only pissed-off one, though.
“Well, Miss _____, that certainly changes things. You’re not in any trouble, but I’ll need you to fill out a witness report.”
Is anyone surprised that Slumlord Jim got me in trouble with the cops? For something that stupid? Anyone?? Yeah, me neither, but I was younger and more naïve then.
So, steaming, I wrote out a three-page, neatly-printed witness report explaining that I had been directly instructed by my landlord’s wife, when showing me the apartment, to dump my trash in the prohibited dumper. I tacked on a postscript saying I was very, very sorry for the inconvenience, and a second postscript recommending a public whipping and six hours in the stocks for the both of them.
Okay, the second postscript was a lie. But let me tell you – the idea of the police DIGGING THROUGH MY TRASH LOOKING FOR IDENTIFICATION SO THEY COULD TALK TO ME made me want to suggest beheading.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you never trust slumlords.
And also, why you always shred your mail!!!