While earning a graduate degree, I spent some time in a basement studio in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. The neighborhood was great, the housemates who lived upstairs were great, and the proximity to amenities was unbeatable. The only problem was the landlord and his wife who both lived in NYC, but for some reason were always visiting and probing us tenants for various reasons.
One day, we found that some of our sinks were clogging up and welling with grime of some sort. Not wanting to leave anyone out of the loop, I called and left a message on the landladyís machine. About a week later, after the plumber has come and fixed the problem, I get a call. (For the sake of this article, I've changed their last name to Bevilacqua [yes, the gym coach from Seinfeld]).
Mr. B: Hi Josef, its Mr. Bevilacqua. The plumber said there was a large clog in the sink.
Me: I know Mr. Bevilacqua; I called and left a message about it.
Mr. B: Look, he said there were lots of rubber bands in the sink. I'm not saying it was you, but you have to be careful about what you put down the drain.
Me: Ok, well I didn't put anything strange in the sink. And I donít have any rubber bands, so...
Mr. B: He said there were hundreds of black rubber bands. And again, I'm not saying it was you, but there are certain things you can't put down the sink. It costs a lot of money to fish those things out. You have to be careful about what you put in the sink.
Me: I don't have any black rubber bands, and if I did I wouldn't put them in the sink Mr. Bevilacqua.
Mr. B: You just have to be careful with how you use the sink. It can get pretty expensive.
Me: I know how to use a sink, Mr. Bevilacqua.
Mr. B: Okay and I'm not saying it was you, but next time we'll have to consider charging you for it.
Me: Mr. Bevilacqua, I did not put hundreds of black rubber bands down the sink. Besides, there's pipes running everywhere down here and it all looks jury rigged, and I'm pretty sure the clog was also upstairs.
Mr. B: Well you have to be careful with how you use the sink....
And so on...
About five minutes after this passive aggressive call, I get the same from Mrs. Bevilacqua. And sure enough, when it happened a second time, they charged me for half...
If you have your own landlord (lady) horror story, feel free to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!