The other day I attempted to ring my own doorbell.  It emitted no sound.  What does one do about a malfunctioning doorbell?  It’s not a crisis – people can knock on the door – but still, it leaves the wrong impression; suggests perhaps a more disturbing state of neglect.  I’ll look to fix or replace it, but until I do, hope that few people arrive at my door.  But what about all the other devices that, from time to time, turn quirky or go awry in the condo and my apartment?  You don’t, they say, appreciate how well off you are when everything is operating smoothly until something doesn’t.  Let’s review developments over the last several months or so that reveal the challenges faced and the adjustments required.

Someone cracked into the automatic garage door and sent it off the tracks.  It couldn’t be repaired.  A day or two later a new one was installed.  The building elevator went frighteningly herky-jerky on several occasions, while our compactor periodically gets overwhelmed and refuses to operate.  More distressing was the fact that my neighbor’s alarm, tends to go off for no apparent reason, usually when she’s not at home.  Fortunately, the superintendent has access to the apartment and is able to end the howling.

Within my living quarters, chances are not all is well.  One faucet leaks continuously, but it probably won’t get fixed until I summon a plumber for some more serious situation.  The toilet tank has the same problem. The flap doesn’t quite seal consistently, producing the occasional drip which, by closing the door, I can ignore.  The dryer works, but you’ve got to run the clothes through the machine at least twice before they’re not damp enough to notice.  Why the refrigerator stops making ice cubes every so often remains a mystery, as is the occasional flickering from one of my ceiling hi-hats.  The washing machine doesn’t always get through its complete cycle, while out of the dishwasher come cups and plates that sometimes require additional attention.  The TV runs into problems when my cable operator is experiencing “technical difficulties”, while my computer server will on occasion stop serving.  We live, it’s clear, amidst a remarkable array of gadgets and conveniences which we now view as indispensable.  But we can’t forget that we are at their mercy.

Actually, today was a pretty good day.  The cable company discovered why the wi-fi was screwed up.  I located one of my remote phones which had gone missing for over a day (It was in the laundry pile), and the superintendent was able to remove a recalcitrant ceiling bulb that had frozen in the socket.  All this augurs well for the immediate future – but, of course, you never know.

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