# 22 Real Estate Man
The Warwick Apartments were Philadelphia’s first skyscraper..
This point is relevant because the amount of floors above, is in proportion to the amount of shit you get below, if the main drain backs up.( dealing with a vastly different subject but same concept of Socrates’ famous “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love, you make”).
It’s a physical law that the overflow from above will exit through the nearest opening above the blockage. In this case the obstruction was in the main drain servicing 7 bathrooms above. That’s a lot of….
Real Estate Man’s story:
It was a Monday on a cold day in March. After a rough weekend, I staggered into my office hoping for a slow day. Regretfully, it was not to be. Problems started when I checked my office voicemail for the first time since Friday.
On the voicemail were a series of messages by the tenants in Apt #14 on the first floor of the Warwick. The messages were left by David, a fellow whose complaints in the past must have been so tactfully stated that I can’t remember if there were any. David’s roommate/partner ironically, also named David, was the same way. As tenants and as humans, they were a pleasure to know. I couldn’t even tell which one was which in their rare calls. Always paid their rent on the 1st of the month.
Starting with the first message on my office voicemail that Monday:
David (1 or 2?): “Mr Real Estate Man, it’s Sunday night we’re having company. There seems to be an odor in our bathroom — nobody will admit to it (laughter in the back ground).”
Next message (about 1/2 an hour later): “The smell is still here and there appears to be a little bit of brown water in the bathtub.”
Following message (another 1/2 hour): “More water, please send someone over on Monday morning, first thing .”
Next message (1 hour later):”It’s shit water. It’s flooding the tub. We had to send everyone home.What’s going on?”
There were 2 more messages reporting the progress of the inundation. Each message escalating in urgency.
David (1 or 2?): “It’s 6:00 on Monday morning, I’m up to my ankles in SHIT! It’s spilling out into the hallway. The whole place! WE NEED A PLUMBER NOW!!!”
I spring into action. Called back (professional, calm, collected, giving the impression of concern and competence): “David (1 or 2?),I have a couple of messages from you guys. You’re having a problem with your bathtub (slight to moderate understatement, should have a soothing effect)?”
David (1 or 2) Thundering: “EVERY TIME SOMEONE UP STAIRS FLUSHES THEIR TOILET OR TAKES A SHOWER, IT COMES UP THE DRAIN IN OUR TUB!” Calming down a bit, “It’s overflowing the tub and gradually flooding the hallway. There’s toilet paper and shit all over. The place STINKS he added forcefully.”.
I commiserated appropriately and disconnected; called an emergency drain service and clean up crew all in one motion.
By 1:00pm problems solved. Still an odor as per David (1 or 2?) but a satisfactory response. See, the Davids were reasonable guys.
David (1 or 2?) reporting in a few days: “I think our parakeet is sick. The dampness from the flood made him sick. It was awful!”
Me (thinking; how do you know if a parakeet is sick?): “I’m so sorry David. Take him to the vet if you feel it’s necessary. I’ll pay the bill. We want him to be healthy.”
In a couple of days I got the doctor’s bill for the parakeet’s treatment and paid it promptly ($229).
A week later an anguished call from David (1 or 2?): “Our parakeet is dead.”
Me (quickly thinking of something sensitive and consoling but with a touch of hope for the future): “I’ll buy you a new one!”
David (1 or 2?) (let out a wail and a): “HOW COULD YOU” as he banged down the phone.
Things were never quite the same between me and the Davids after that. The Davids gave me the proper 60 day notice when their lease was up; the deposit was returned in full.
When they came into the office to return their keys and received their deposit check, they seemed to be have recaptured their old pre parakeet disastrous demise congeniality. Parakeet reminiscing was avoided in our meeting. However, as they walked out of my office, David (1 or 2?) turned around and said, “By the way we’ve upgraded to a parrot!”
Was this the Davids’ subtle way to get me to pay for a commercial jet when I originally offered to buy them a propellor plane?