I’ve been living in
It started with Blane and I being frugal New Yorkers and deciding to buy a mattress off Craigslist. I know, a second hand mattress is not the nicest beginning to our fairytale marriage… however a nice new thick mattress pad can spiff up any old mattress. And I’m not that proud anyway.
So after a few hard nights of sleeping on the floor ‘Elaine’ contacted us to say she was selling a full size mattress and box spring for $50; “Great condition!”
We went to her apartment on the fourth floor of a typical Upper West Side Walk up. The mattress actually seemed pretty good. Nice and firm, modern looking… We offered Elaine $40. Sold. A bargain?
Elaine was so pleased, “I’m moving to Tel Aviv and I’m so glad I don’t have to put this out on the street!”
Did we just pay $40 for a mattress that was headed for the street?
As we were carrying the mattress out I asked Elaine how old it was… “Oh… probably about fifteen years or so.”
Did we just pay $40 for a mattress that is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD?!?!?
We almost dropped the stupid mattress we were so shocked. But money had changed hands and we were out in the corridor. We hefted the stupid mattress down four flights of stairs in angry silence.
Exhausted, hot and frustrated we eventually got the mattress through the security door downstairs and leant it against the wall outside.
“Hey, you just broke that light!” A man hosing the footpath shouted at us.
We pulled the mattress back off the wall and saw it had bent a wall lamp behind it.
“Look! It’s broken!” The guy was really angry.
“Oh, it’s not really broken, the wires are still attached…” I said. At this stage Blane was busy hauling our stinky old mattress into the back of a hire van.
“That’s broken. What are you going to do about it?”
“Fix it…” The mattress and Blane were in the get-away-van. I ran over to them, and shouted behind me as I went, “We’ll come back and fix it!”
We thought we’d escaped.
But that dirty Wally of a man, who had nothing better to do than HOSE THE FOOTPATH, turned out to be the super of the building. And he was really pissed.
He contacted everyone in that apartment and found out who had sold the mattress and told Elaine she was responsible for “fixing the light.” Elaine obviously didn’t think she was responsible so she contacted us to “take responsibility.”
Elaine’s message wasn’t threatening. There’s was no mention of money or taking action. Rather she’s took the sinister moral high ground that digs at your conscious… She was nice:
I wouldn't worry too about it too much, though, because the damage seems slight. The light itself is still working. It's just hanging down by its wires and probably needs to be reattached…
And then Elaine moved overseas and her friend, George moved into her apartment and has taken up the cause:
Please call the landlord to discuss the situation so that my friend Elaine, from whom you bought the mattress, is not held responsible for the damage… Again, we are sorry this happened to you. We hope you will take responsibility for the situation.
Is it a trick? If I were Elaine I would never take responsibility for damage done by someone I didn’t even know. Particularly if I left the country. She’s not going to “take responsibility” for it is she? Because isn’t it the Super’s job it fix stuff like this??!!?
And so, the episode that began with Blane and I being too greedy for a deal that turned out not to be a deal that turned into a stink, ends with us sleeping on a fifteen year old mattress living in fear when an ‘unknown number’ rings.
But I’m not taking responsibility and you can’t make me.