I had an interesting conversation with my twentysomething apartment manager yesterday. I've been having plumbing woes, and since I haven't seen a plumber in two weeks or heard from the manager in a week, and I still have a nonfunctioning shower and a leaky connector that requires the hot-water valve to be turned off except when the hot water is in use, I called for an update.
Said manager brought up two topics I found unsettling in the course of our conversation. The first was, I think, a good-hearted attempt to help me find better ways of coping with the lack of a shower. "So, ummm...how are you cleaning yourself?" he asked. I was so disconcerted that I actually embarked on an answer before realizing that I had no need or desire to share the details of my ablutions with a young man with whom I have only the most passing of acquaintances.
After an awkward pause, he introduced Unsettling Topic 2: "Now, have you had any flashes of inspiration about what you might have done to cause this [emphasis mine]?"
Unfortunately, I took this as a veiled accusation, and the visions of pecuniary consequences dancing in my head produced a rather sharp (if truthful) response. I didn't do anything; the plumbing is ancient, and it's hardly surprising that the diverter for the shower should just give out or that a connector should spring a leak.
Upon further reflection, however, I'm pretty sure the question wasn't indicative of a plot by the management company to shift maintenance costs to an innocent tenant. I think my young manager simply has yet to learn one of the basic lessons of life: things have a lifespan. Sometimes they are damaged through accident or maliciousness, but sometimes--well, sometimes they just fall apart because they're old.
It does make some sense that it's easier to understand this at 38 than at 22.
After receiving a response or two to this post, I've realized a couple of clarifications are in order:
1. My poor manager is not in any way responsible for the extended delay noted above. He got a plumber out here very promptly; the plumber looked over the situation, muttered something about ordering a part, and disappeared. My manager has spent the intervening weeks vainly trying to reestablish contact with the elusive plumber, calling other plumbers to see if they have the (apparently rare) part on hand, and generally worrying about my showerless state. His only failure was keeping me in the loop.
2. There was not the slightest suggestion of leering in Unsettling Topic 1. It was an odd question, to be sure, but an innocent one; we were both alarmed by the turn the conversation took.