Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Manager Rivka

For the last year and a half, we've been living in a nice two-bedroom apartment in El Cerrito, following our move out of the damp little house with the ants.

The new place is not damp. (The old place was so damp that when my parents came over for Christmas lunch, I found myself trying to blow-dry the dining room table.) It does however have one distinctly unfortunate feature, that as soon as the temperature outside is mildly warm, the inside of the apartment heats up to the outside temperature minus wind chill. Air conditioning? We live in Northern California. Who has air conditioning? You open the door when you get home at six or so, and the heat rushes out and smacks you in the face. I am currently wondering whether to pack all our stuff and move to Daly City, or Pacifica. Someplace very foggy.

There is also no place to get rid of cardboard boxes. We have recycling for newspaper, glass and aluminum and plastic, but that's it. I might risk throwing a cardboard box or two in the dumpster, except for Manager Rivka.

Manager Rivka is the nice older lady who runs the building. Her name is not Rivka, but you'll get her real name in three guesses. She lives in the manager's apartment with her husband, a WWII vet with many medals in glass cases, and keeps all of us in line, largely though detailed, written memos she attaches to the walls throughout the building, signed "Mgr. Rivka".

The laundry room has many of them. We are not allowed to do laundry after 9 PM, but apparently this ruling was being ignored, because we now have a handlettered pashkevil with many exclamation points denouncing these people attached to the door. Inside is a more thoughtful piece, discussing how Manager Rivka would not want her laundry gone through by others, and how she is sure you wouldn't either, and how, therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us not to leave laundry in the dryers, so that others must remove it to use the dryers. There is a detailed write attached to the trash can in the laundry room, urging people not to throw away old clothing, and another reminding us not to wash a single item in the washers.

Anyway, cardboard being left by the dumpsters is a special hate of Manager Rivka's, and cardboard left there sometimes gets written on: "Can you not read? No cardboard is to be left here! Take it to the recycling center, PLEASE!!!!" I don't think I could deal with the shame of having my cardboard written on. But I do have some cardboard, and the recycling center is a bit of a walk. (Not a bad walk, really, but a mile there with my cardboard boxes seems difficult.)

I suppose I could break down the box into small pieces, and throw it out in the trash. Or take it to school, and put it in the dumpster there.

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