SHE COULDN’T CHANGE
A LIGHT BULB
I had a custodian who couldn’t change a light bulb. She didn’t know how far to screw the bulb in. She was from Russia and liked to “dress” — put on sharp clothes and wear heavy makeup.
I hadn’t hired her. I had hired her husband, but her husband skipped (went to Philadelphia) and I didn’t want to fire her, because she had two young boys.
She improved just slightly. She learned how to apply porcelain touch-up paint to chipped bathtubs. Like doing her nails.
I’ve had worse employees. I had a custodian who showed too much butt cleft when he waxed floors, alienating some of the tenants. I had a custodian who drove too often to Detroit. This was before cell phones. I couldn’t reach him.
I had a custodian from the Hough neighborhood who was snooty. Her family had boarded Nap Lajoie, the Hall of Fame baseball player, when Hough was a fancy neighborhood. The custodian said to me, “We had the elite in my neighborhood. No mongrels, like from P.A.” Her husband was from P.A.
I had a building manager who rarely cleaned. A tenant taped a note in the hallway: “This building is a mess.” Other tenants added to the note: “Vacuum the halls” . . . “Take the tree down, Christmas is over!” . . . “Trim the shrubs.”
I had a custodian whose vacuum sweeper was always outside her door but she never vacuumed.
I had a custodian who threatened to kill me. He was dating a black transvestite prostitute from apartment 200. I didn’t like him fraternizing with tenants. He said he would hunt me down. Luckily, he didn’t know his way around the East Side, where I live. The East Side has curved streets.
I had a custodian who asked for loans regularly because her husband took all her money, she said. I liked the husband. He went to the racetrack a lot, but he was a hard worker and had a good day job.
I had a building manager whose kids were thieves. I once asked where her son was, and the manager said, “He stepped out to shop.”
“Marion,” she said. The Marion (Ohio) Correctional Institution.
He came back from Marion and broke into an apartment.
For the record, I’ve had plenty good managers.