On the door to my apartment is a little lever that any visitor who has made it through the security door at the front of my building can depress to let me know they’ve made it up the stairs after I’ve buzzed them in. It’s excruciatingly loud. Visitors are not something I tend to have. But today was different. Today all of us in the building were forewarned of a visitor who would be coming into every apartment. Yes, today was my semi-regular appointment with The Exterminator.
There was nothing remotely Schwarzenegger about this bloke though: he was round and balding, pure Brooklyn. I learned a lot from him about the goings-on in my building, which contains 16 apartments. Apparently a few of my neighbours have mice running around, although not as pets. Others have a lot of stuff crammed into their rooms, “Boxes piled everywhere!” he exclaimed, as if it were a deliberate tactic to frustrate his extermination efforts. I think I’m his favourite, as at one point he bestowed what for him was a major compliment. “You’re place is really clean. You got no crap anywhere,” he said.
Poison in his left hand, he shook my hand with his right as he was leaving. “You’re not from here, are you?” he said. When I asked him why not – assuming it would be a matter accent – he replied, “You’re too friendly.”