“Flat Inspection,” says a note on our calendar for today.
I really do prefer to rent a place instead of own one. What would we do with a house? Paint it, I suppose. Insure it, probably. Big deal. And yet there’s the odd moment I curse being a tenant, Inspection Day being one of them.
The inspection itself is little trouble. It can be done in ten minutes and really just involves an inspector looking for signs of damp or subsidence, and marking a few things off on a clipboard.
What’s tricky is how the inspector never sees fit to buzz the street-level intercom like any other contractor. He lets himself into the building using the letting agency’s keys, and knocks on the door of the flat, which doesn’t give one a lot of time to pull one’s trousers on [one].
Taking a nap or drawing a bath are obviously out of the question on Inspection Day. You have to sit around in presentable clothes, not masturbating, and longing for his knock so you can get it all over with.
And–get this–if you don’t answer the door quickly enough, he’ll let himself right into the flat. Once, while Shanti was visiting us from Canada, he unlocked the storm door and stood peering through the stained glass of the interior door, providing poor Shanti with more nightmare fuel than she’s probably allowed to take back on the plane. None of us had heard his knock.
Why can’t he buzz like anyone else or, if he must insist on entering the building like a big-shot, how about ringing our doorbell? Or knocking loud enough for the human ear to detect?
There’s four of these intrusions a year and, since we’ve lived here for three years, our letting agency has visited us no fewer than twelve times, which is probably more times than any one of our friends has ever visited.
The inspector tends to turn up in the morning, presumably operating on the principle of a dawn raid, but today, for some reason, this is not the case and I’m left on the edge of my seat, unable to concentrate on my work or to take a bath, for fear of his bursting in with an airhorn.
So where is this guy?
At 3pm, I check the letter from the agency to make sure the date on the calendar is correct. “09/08,” it says, “/2017.”
I must have looked at an old letter when updating the calendar.
He’s not due for another month.
Well, it’s nice to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?