Low Point, High Point

Low point of the day: Smarmy Campus Bureaucrat Dude entered my apartment without knocking. Since the house was rather hot (we’re still working on getting the hang of the ondol controls here, which are old-fashioned valves instead of digital controls like modern apartments have), I was at my computer in boxers and a t-shirt, typing away, while Lime was sprawled asleep on the bedroom floor.

Smarmy Campus Bureaucrat Dude didn’t even think to apologize for coming in without knocking until I pulled some clothes on and told him it was unacceptable to enter people’s homes without at least knocking or ringing the bell, and that this was indeed our home, and I’d appreciate it if he actually treated it that way. And when he apologized, he had his characteristic smarmy smile on his face which said, unmistakably, “I’m so totally not sorry, and I’ll do it again anytime I like, pal.” I wish I could say it was me misinterpreting him across a language/culture barrier, but Lime has met this individual before and classes him as the scum of the earth.

What’s worse, he had his key in hand, which means even if the door had been locked, he probably just would have entered without knocking. I suppose we’re supposed to just sit around at home expecting officials to burst in at any moment, huh? Heaven forbid someone take a nap, or happen to emerge from the shower at some random time when Smarmy Campus Bureaucrat Dude decides to barge in unannounced. Let alone couples having, ahem, a private moment. Lucky for him that wasn’t what he walked in on, or I’d be raising merry hell about his disrespectful behaviour.

(And, well, there’s more, including a case of “not my problem” so bad that the building I living in seems to be sustaining structural damage from it, but I won’t get into it except to say that I know better than to think telling someone off will have any effect unless you’re directly above him in the food chain, and that thank goodness the person above him has been notified of the building’s impending collapse. Personally, though, having my home entered at a random time by an unwelcome stranger for no apparent reason except to ask whether we’re “using” the (obviously vacated) apartment downstairs is bad enough to count as the low point of the day.)

High point of the day: I got my contributor’s copy of Tesseracts Twelve! I won’t be able to give the book more than a glance for a week or so, until exams and other work-related stuff is dealt with, but it was really great to see the book as a physical object, and my story there among the others. Yay!

5 thoughts on “Low Point, High Point

  1. I will never bitch about having to listen to my landlord snore again. EVER.

    ~sympathy waves~

    Hopefully somebody sorts this fella out but well. Unlikely I know, but one can hope.

  2. Wow. That is completely and absolutely unacceptable. I cannot believe the crap they pull on you there. I would buy a baseball bat and whack him across the face next time he does that. When the police come, you can tell them you were groggy from a nap and thought he was a burglar.

    (OK, not really, because we all know how well that would go over in real life. I think Garrett has the best solution: change the locks.)

  3. I’m thinking you need a deadbolt lock. Or is there some fine print somewhere that would prohibit you from installing one? Failing that: a nice bat (baseball bats are good, but cricket bats definitely win on style). The next time you hear someone entering the apartment unannounced (and you know it’s not Lime!) come out waving and shouting.

    “Honest, officer, I thought it was a burglar. You wouldn’t believe the crime rates back in *ahem* North America where I’m from!”

    But that’s probably the kind of thing that only works in daydreams.

    In better news: congratulations on all this publishing you’re doing! I recently read Dhuluma No More, and I’m really impressed with the toner concept. I just wish I knew what happened *after* the story ended!

  4. Thanks for your sympathies everyone.

    Like Val, I wish someone would sort him out, but he’s been working this job for who knows how long. I think complaints from foreign professors are the least likely thing in the world to get him into trouble, unfortunately. (If he’d walked in on a couple having sex or something, he might get into real trouble, but I think the reaction to this would boil down to, “Ah well, no harm done.”

    But yeah, I’m thinking having the locks changed would be nice. I suspect we’d finally get in trouble over it, because they come here and do cockroach spraying about once a month and claim they “need to get in” when we’re not around. (And in fact I like the fact they do cockroach spraying. I think it kind of does help, given the number of sloppy bachelors downstairs, and the degree of disrepair of the empty apartments.)

    Maybe the ensuing kerfuffle could actually result in them scheduling the cockroach spraying for when we ARE going to be around, say, after class hours? Instead of having strangers enter our homes when we’re not around. After all, there was a big to-do about this earlier this semester because they’d taken food and beer from someone’s fridge, and urinated various residents’ toilets without flushing or, er, wiping up their misfire mess when the people weren’t home.

    The real problem is that nothing we say or do seems to get it through their thick skulls that these rooms on campus are our HOMES, the place where we LIVE. We’re not guests in a cheapie hotel, or teenaged backpackers in a hostel in Bangkok, after all. Which leads me back to the empathy deficit, and the fact these guys would NEVER stand for this crap happening at their own homes.

    But that kerfuffle I mentioned? Nobody but myself and Lime actually felt it was worth it to make an issue out of it. They were apologetic for, well, a couple of days, and didn’t come when we weren’t home but worked with us to make arrangements. But just two months later, Mr. Smarmy-etc. did what he did.

    And I’m sure his main excuse is that he cannot speak English. Even though I’ve spoken Korean with him many times before, he always defaults to that excuse as the reason why he cannot communicate what is going on, cannot book an appointment to come when we are home, cannot extend any of the basic courtesies or decencies that he would extend to a human being, if he thought of the residents in this building that way.

    Still, changing the locks sounds like a good response: sane, sensible, and saves me the pain in the ass of going to the office and hollering at this guy for no real purpose — since he’s never going to learn his lesson. And though a cricket bad does feature in my fantasies about dealing with Mr. Smarmy, it’s probably a good way to lose my job.

    What could make him lose his job, on the other hand, is a question I have yet to see answered. If none of his failures and incompetencies thus far have sufficed, I fear nothing up to a downright criminal act would obtain that result.

    Though I am kind of thinking that I should lodge a complaint with the official who is technically his supervisor. This individual was apparently quite disturbed to hear that a water leak was left dripping for two months inside an apartment, to the point where it was leaving visible calcification marks on the exterior of the building and rotting wooden structures on the interior. He’d assumed that something had been done long before. I wonder what he’d think of Mr. Smarmy waltzing into people’s homes unannounced?

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