Friday, November 11, 2011

The Rudeness of Strangers

About a month ago I moved into a studio apartment in order to save money on rent. After living in a one-bedroom apartment for several years, living in a studio took some getting used to. My refrigerator is so small that I can't fit a frozen pizza into the freezer unless I wedge it in there diagonally. Apparently the rental company doesn't believe that it's necessary for the tenants to keep enough food in their apartment, or maybe the company thinks that we should eat fast food all the time. Also, sometimes I feel like I'm living in the middle of a really bad episode of The Real World, because my neighbors like to party and get drunk a lot.

When I was moving out of my old apartment, I hired a moving company to help me move. I'd gone to the alderman's office a couple days before to get signs telling drivers not to park by the side of the street, so that the movers would have enough room to park their truck. But apparently several drivers in Chicago seem to think that those "No Parking" signs actually mean "Yes! PLEASE park here!" or "It's perfectly okay to ignore the sign and irritate the hell out of other people!" or "Take up as much room as you like! It's not like anyone's trying to MOVE OUT or anything!"

I had a feeling that people would try to park in the designated area, since they did that the last time I moved to a new apartment. So before the movers showed up, I parked myself by the side of the street and scared off drivers who tried to park there.

I'm not lying when I say that I started jumping up and down and shrieking incoherently anytime anyone tried to park by the side of the street. I looked and sounded like Homer Simpson when someone steals his doughnuts, or perhaps a cavewoman who hadn't had her coffee yet. Only instead of waving a club around I kept waving a Dustbuster threateningly at the drivers, because I'd been cleaning my apartment. I don't know why I thought the Dustbuster would scare them. I think I might have been sending out a message that said something like, "Park here and I'll whap you over the head with my Dustbuster!" or "Park here and I'll vacuum the carpet in your car for you!"

The movers were in the process of moving my furniture to their truck when a woman who looked like she was a few years younger than me suddenly walked into my apartment. The door was open in order to let the movers come and go. I'd never met or seen her before, but she asked if my movers could take her mattress to her apartment, which was a few blocks away.

I was reluctant to say yes, to say the least. The moving company was not cheap, and they were going to charge me an additional twenty-five dollars if the movers went even just fifteen minutes beyond the designated time frame. But the girl kept insisting, so like a fool, I said yes.

The woman and her boyfriend were really rude, though. I said, "Next time you guys should hire your own moving company." The boyfriend acted like I was a jerk for being upset, because he said, "Well, there won't be a next time, because we'll never see you again."

They could tell I didn't want them to use the truck, though, so they said that they'd changed their minds about the mattress. But then I felt bad about being so territorial, so I said the movers would still move the mattress for them; the movers had said it would be okay anyway.

I went back inside for a few minutes, and when I came out their mattress was still in the truck. The woman and her boyfriend, however, were gone. I asked the movers where they went, and they didn't know. I didn't know their names or their phone numbers, so I had no way of reaching them.

Apparently, the losers had dumped their mattress on me and expected me to figure out how to dispose of it. Perhaps they saw me coming back out and whispered to each other, "She's coming! Make a run for it!" before running off gleefully to tell a certain guy dressed in red that they'd succeeded in making someone mad again.

And can I just say that this was the second time one of my neighbors dumped a mattress on me? The first time was when I opened my door to find a mattress blocking my door; one of my neighbors hadn't bothered to throw it out properly so they just left it there.

It was at that point that I wanted to start jumping up and down and shriek incoherently again. I asked my building's super about the couple, and she said they didn't even live in the building. They were picking up the mattress from a former tenant. She gave me the tenant's phone number.

I called the tenant and left a message, but she didn't call me back. I called her again, and she hung up on me! Then she turned off her phone so I couldn't reach her. Apparently she must have thought that not having a conscience was what all the cool kids did. At this point, I was so angry that I wanted to go on some kind of Dustbuster rampage. The movers were really nice, though. They found a way to dispose of the mattress after they helped me move into my new apartment. I gave each of them a good tip and bottled water for being so helpful.

Things didn't improve when I got to my new studio. Even though I'd spent the entire day before cleaning out my old apartment so that I could get my security deposit back, apparently the tenant who'd been living in the studio before me thought that "cleaning" meant "leave rotting food all over the kitchen floor". I called my building's super to tell him that the toilet wasn't flushing properly and the shower kept dripping. He was irritated that I'd called him on a Saturday afternoon. He said that since it wasn't an "emergency", I should just leave a note for him and he'd get to it sometime the following week.

It's days like those that make me lose a little bit of faith in people. It bothers me that people like that can get away with treating other people badly. Occasionally I'll see something that gives me hope, like a guy I saw the other day who helped someone in a wheelchair cross the street, or the good people on Animal Cops who rescue abused animals. But sometimes I just want to start shrieking like a cavewoman again.

How do you deal with rude people?


  1. People's selfishness never ceases to amaze me. So many people don't think the rules apply to them, and then when you try to enforce them, you're the bad guy. I'm sorry they were such dirtbags. You were right to be annoyed.

  2. Hi E.R. King,
    Those people were definitely selfish, especially the jerk who hung up on me. If I had actually known them and been friends with them, I would have been more willing to do them a favor. But it bothers me that they took advantage of me when they don't even know me.

  3. We've been asking our super to clean the black mold off our ceiling for about a month now... le sigh. I just sort of resign myself to it and try not to think about it, haha.

  4. Hi mmarinaa,
    That's awful that your super won't clean the mold off, especially because you could get sick from that. It always bothers me when people like that don't do their job.

  5. Some people suck. But remember - it's not rude to say NO to a ridiculous request like the mattress one. You don't even need to give an excuse - just "No, that won't be possible." There is always someone who will try to take advantage of you if you let them (says someone who has an equally hard time saying no to people)

  6. Hi Gia,
    It's hard for me to say no to people too, even people I don't know; I always feel like I should say yes, even though I know I don't have to. But you're right in that I need to stand up for myself more, especially because those people who dumped their mattress on me and the woman who hung up on me really were being ridiculous.

  7. I live in a town with less than 1,000 people (hey, I don't even live in town, I live on a farm about a mile north of town), so this type of behavior is inexcusable to me. But yeah, people here can be rude, too. And it always leaves me shaky and unable to say what I REALLY REALLY want to say! Good luck with the new place!

  8. Hi Erica,
    I am often unable to say what I really want to say too. And then I end up thinking of a good comeback when it's too late. I'm thinking that I should write all the comebacks down, in case I ever get the chance to use them in the future.

  9. Hugs to you! People are just awful. I don't understand how they get born/made. Good on you for resisting the urge to Dustbust them upside the head :-)

  10. Hi Deniz,
    I should have just said no to the mattress people from the beginning, but I guess this is a learning experience for me. I hope I never see those people again, because I have a feeling I might yell at them if I do.

  11. I can't believe someone would do that. I'm astounded. Truly.

  12. Hi Theresa,
    I couldn't believe it either. I bet those inconsiderate jerks treat everyone like that. I know it's mean of me to say this, but I hope that they get their own taste of karma soon enough.