September 06, 2004

big, whiny, shaky baby

Yesterday at 9:30am I received a phone call from my landlord. He said he wanted to schedule some time that afternoon to meet with me to drop off my relocation assistance check and pick up my rent check. Heh.

I called back, prepared for the worst - to have to converse, even briefly with Satan (aka the landlord's wife) - but, thankfully, was granted access to their voicemail system. Alas, I still was forced to sit through her shrill recorded message. Remind me to record it sometime and play it for you.

So I left a message saying that 2pm would be fine for me. I didn't say a word about the rent. It was clear that they hadn't heard a peep from their attorney about the letter I sent to him regarding the fact that I was not going to pay rent on a unit that's currently in violation - as it's illegal for them to demand such payment. Sucks to be them.

But now I had roughly four and a half hours to prepare myself for the afternoon meeting. I have copies of everything in my bag - all the California and Glendale code one would need, various letters of correspondence and mailing receipts - because I like to be prepared.

Let me just say I hate confrontation. I despise it. Thinking about it makes my stomach knot. I loathe giving bad news, and I'm not the best at receiving it either. And now I was about to be the bearer of bad news to the landlord.

So 2pm crept slowly up, and as I was lying flat on my back, on my bed, taking deep breaths and trying to will myself into relaxation, I heard the telltale footsteps, the sound of my screendoor opening, and a knock at my door.

I unlocked and opened the door, and greeted the landlord. And I was shaking like a leaf. He brought me a check and a receipt for me to sign. He requested my rent, and I asked if he had not heard from his attorney, and that I had sent the attorney a letter last week about the nonpayment. The final draft of the letter wobbled in my hand as I brought it out and handed it to him. My voice quivered as I paraphrased the correspondence.

He didn't fight it. Perhaps he knew that I wasn't responsible for payment any longer, and knew that it was best to not fight me about it, because I'm everything but unaware of my rights. Or perhaps he could sense my nervousness (goodness I was shaking so!), and that now was not a good time to argue anything with me. My signature on the receipt of the assistance check was almost imperceptible as my own, as my hand was so unsteady while signing it.

So we bid eachother adieu and I closed the door, fumbling with the door, and walked away from the entry, clenching my hands in fists and hitting them against eachother at the knuckles. The wave of nervous energy was slow to subside, and I spent the next few minutes pacing across my small living space, trying to compose a thought other that, "Holy shit, can you believe how much I was shaking?!?"

I don't know what it is with me and the nervousness and the shaking. It was absolutely overwhelming. Maybe it's just the terror the landlady had instilled in me in previous "conversations". She really is a bitch from hell. But I really need to learn to control myself physically in such situations. Had the conversation lasted only moments more, I probably would have been reduced to tears, or ended up passing out from the agitation. Phew!

I'm glad the moment has passed. I'm glad that tomorrow I can go to the bank and cash their check, breathe a sigh of relief, and focus on the task at hand: moving out of the out-of-code shithole that's served me so well as my home for the past eight years.

posted by julie at September 6, 2004 01:26 PM