Before I get to the post, I wanted to wish a happy birthday to blog regular Dizzblnd.
On to my story...
I wasn't always the kindly, soft spoken, gentle man I am today.
Stop snickering. Seriously.
I occasionally did some things that were kind of mean. And I'm not even counting the time I tried run some guy over with my truck. That bastage deserved to get run over. Oh, don't worry, he managed to get out of the way in time. I'm not typing this from Rahway State Prison.
Anyway, back when I worked repairing boilers and furnaces (I told you I had a lot of different jobs) we had one customer who owned a pretty decent sized apartment building. It was maybe 70 units or so.
It used to break down often as it was pretty old.
Because it was a big building, it was our priority, and any time we got a call, we dropped everything, and went right there. It was always at the top of the list. I hated the place. The boiler was huge, and about 10 times the size of a normal house one. The firing unit was nearly 10 times as large as a normal house one, and due to some weird design, usually came on with a bang that would all but scare the crap out of me.
So, that is just part of the setting. Couple it with the fact that the building was filled with mostly senior citizens, and the possibility for a bad ending to my tale starts to unfold.
Here is a typical day: I get the call. No heat, and I get the apartment number just in case it turns out to be one unit (which happened from time to time. Some old codgers consider anything under 80 to be "No heat.") I immediately head over to the apartment building.
While walking through the hallway, an old timer lets me know there is no heat. Because he probably figured I just happened to be out in the middle of January, strolling through the hallway, heading to the boiler room carrying a large tool box, and had no idea of the predictament. I would thank him, because I was still able to maintain at least a tiny smidgeon of politeness at that point.
Then, I would go into the boiler room, and begin to attack the beast with all my vo-tech school training skills and various wrenches. Stress level would approach yellow. Remember, the mention that this particular boiler was intimidating?
Ok, as I work on it, various seniors entered my inner sanctum--the boiler room, to let me know they had no heat--while I was working on the cold boiler.
Stress level climbs. Then the idiotic questions started.
Every. Friggin'. Time.
"What is wrong with it? How soon until you fix it? Why is it broken? Did you know we have no heat?"
By the third senior, and the same group of idiotic questions, I start to get pissed. Big time. I close the door to the room, they keep coming. The questions keep coming.
I politely suggest they get the "F" out of the room. But, they keep coming. Just like in some zombie movie, Crotchety Of The Near Dead, only instead of "brains" they mumble "Heat."
And there I was without a chain saw or a cricket bat.
Remember I told you I had a tool box? I carried a lot of wrenches. Wrenches were easy to throw at seniors who wouldn't leave me alone and if the walkers were hit just right, they made a rather pleasant "ping" sound.
One day, in particular, was a long one. I had to reload.