So there I was, still painting at 8:30 at night when I normally wrap up my work day no later than 6. There was a rush on this particular apartment, however. It needed to be move-in ready by tomorrow morning, so that meant a full day of getting to know brushes and rollers on a deeply personal level. I got a few phone numbers and a date next Tuesday.
Anyway, I was diligently plugging away at the last room that needed to be finished, the bathroom, so I could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had just started thinking about rounding up some of the roaches so we could break into a can-can chorus line number and toss some confetti, when I heard a snarly, snappy voice come through the open kitchen window like a dark cloud rolling in to ruin my sunny day.
“Hey. You. Come here.”
I turned to peer through the bathroom doorway toward the kitchen at the perfect stranger that had just brazenly barked an order at me that I wouldn’t even tolerate from my immediate family.
There, at the open window, stood a dark skinned woman of about my height (short enough to walk under the bottom rung of a ladder without having to duck, in other words) possibly in her mid to late twenties, wearing nothing but a tiny bikini top, shower cap, and cut off shorts so small and tight that I could see pink…and curlies. She stabbed an angry finger at me, and reiterated her command.
“Yeah. you. Come here a minute.”
My first instinct was to place the hand that wasn’t currently holding a paintbrush on my hip, raise one eyebrow at her, and rather irritably say, “Excuse me?” Being the non-confrontational person that I am, however, I put down my brush, wiped my paint smeared hands across the front of my t-shirt, and proceeded to take the dozen or so steps from bathroom to kitchen.
“Yes ma’am. What can I do for you?” I asked.
“Yeah. I live next door. I want my bedroom door painted. It’s just plain wood, but I want it painted. I pay to live here, so I paid good money for it to be painted, and it aint.”
Now… not only am I already there 2 and a half hours after my normal work day, busting hump to try and get this job finished, but I am contracted by the job. I don’t blow my nose because a resident asked me to without clearing it with hubby-manager guy first.
Then there’s the other problem with her request; we normally don’t paint the doors to which she’s referring if they aren’t already white to begin with. They look quite nice in their natural wood color, so they don’t need to be painted. They shouldn’t be painted. She wishes to ruin a perfectly nice door.
So I actually had to suppress my laughter at this woman that is all but snapping her fingers at me wanting me to step away from the job that I’ve already stayed late to finish, and go paint her bedroom door. Right now. At 8:30 at night. When most people are…oh I don’t know…at home in their jammies shoving fistfuls of popcorn into their faces while they watch some over-hyped reality show.
Even were I able to decide to take on the task myself, there’s no way on earth I’d have tackled that junk that late, and I was fairly put off that Princess Demanding-pants was expecting me to. I was tired. My feet were killing me. A hot shower sounded be more appealing than a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Never mind, let’s not go that far.
I wanted to snap back with some snarky comment hurled at her in the same tone with which she was addressing me, but that’s just not who I am. I’m usually a doormat to the point that welcome will regularly appear in big letters across my forehead.
So, I responded with, “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to put in a work order for that tomorrow when the office is open, and then I’d be happy to do that for you.”
“No. I tried that before and it dint get done. I need it painted.”
She needs it painted?
What she needs is a lesson in manners.
“Well, I really can’t do that without permission, but the office opens at 8 and you’re welcome to…”
She grunted and mumbled something under her breath as she stomped away. I’m pretty sure I caught an expletive or 2 and quite possibly the “B” word somewhere in there.
I grabbed my brush and went back to work. I wanted to get out of there now more than ever.
I stewed over the encounter for a few more minutes as I wrapped up for the day.
I’ve seen small children behave with more tact.
I thought to myself, “What a pleasant woman, and what a fitting end to an already delightful day.”
I shouldn’t really be shocked, though. I’ve learned to expect nothing less out of many of my fellow Americans over the course of my lifetime.
Welcome to the land of the free, and the home of the entitled.