By Alex Bottner
I got a call from an unknown number.
I thought it was the Apple store. I feared they were calling to tell me my laptop was beyond saving.
A creepy, sickly sweet voice introduced itself, “Hiii Alex, we haven’t spoken before. This is John*”
John is the repairman who our landlord arranged to fix our boiler. Unfortunately for my boyfriend, the work was scheduled while I was visiting my family in Canada. John had visited the flat several times and did not fix the boiler. He overcharged by £1000 on the work he did (according to our landlord), and she refused to pay him. She hired someone else to finish the job.
“I just want to let you know that I am almost at your flat, and I am going to take a look at the boiler… and take out all of the parts that I installed”
I had never met or spoken to this guy before.
I did not know he had my number.
I did not know what he was capable of.
I did not want to tick this guy off.
“Oh. Do you mind if I confirm with the landlord first?”
“Yeah, no problem. The landlord and your boyfriend both know this is happening,” he replied a little too calmly.
I tried ringing my boyfriend. I was going to lose it if he knew this was coming. I was getting his voicemail.
It was a good thing I couldn’t reach him, because I directed my confusion and anger towards my landlord instead.
How dare my landlord and this boiler repairman create a situation that made feel unsafe in my own home over a FUCKING boiler?!
If I had gotten this call at work I would have shrugged it off, but being caught home alone in the flat made me feel trapped. When my boyfriend answered the phone after his meeting, he too was shocked. He had gotten no warnings from John that day.
We decided to meet for dinner to forget about everything.
My boyfriend was getting texts from John throughout dinner, asking if we could meet him outside our place with the parts. We stayed out til midnight, trying to avoid him at all costs.
We guessed that he might attempt to come by the place again in the morning.
Like clockwork, the buzzer to the flat went off in the morning. There was nothing I could do but wait for the persistent buzzing to stop. It did…it turned out to have been an Amazon delivery.
How dare this guy make me miss my Amazon deliveries?!
I thought that completing the passion project was the most stressful thing I would deal with all week.
I was proven wrong.
I thought that jet lag would prevent me from finishing the passion project.
The passion project knocked the jet lag out of me.
If there is any moral to this story, I guess it’s that your problems could always be bigger… and it doesn’t matter where you move in London, there will always be something wrong with your boiler.