Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Life as a (bad) cosmic joke, disturbances, and my rotten-to-the-core building

with 5 comments

As I noted in an older text:

There are days when I can barely suppress the suspicion that life is a weird cosmic joke, “Truman Show”, or scientific experiment that replaces mice in a labyrinth with humans in a Matrix.

Even this formulation is kind: to speak of a Kafkaesque nightmare sometimes seems justified. (And, indeed, I suspect that Kafka’s popularity is rooted in how recognizable many of his stories are, more reflections of reality in carnival mirrors than something freely painted.)

One recurring issue is that when I set a day aside to deal with e.g. outstanding correspondence or something IRS-related (as in that text), something invariably happens that wreaks havoc on my plans. So yesterday:

After last year being plagued with construction work (with a severe reduction of life quality and ability to work on my book over roughly six months) and other unnecessary noise, the COVID-19 (-20?) lock-down brought a few months of renewed problems, with hours of disturbances per day. Disturbances, obviously, that did not just affect me during those few hours, but also over the day through a ruined mood, uncertainty if and when they would resume, and a severe sleep shortage. Among the side-effects, I have a large backlog of often temper-ruining correspondence and other tasks, because I did not want to risk the additional stress when I was already beset by these disturbances.

As the disturbances had returned to a normal* level, my quality of life was up again, I was in a good mood, and I had cleared my schedule for yesterday, to go through half-a-dozen tasks—one ruined day and then back to a good mood.

*Higher than what I would consider normal based on other apartments, but within the tolerable with occasional use of ear plugs or ANC head-phones.

The day was ruined alright …

I was awakened at 08:57 through various very loud noises and poundings, which where joined by even louder drilling an hour later. I saw myself forced to flee the apartment. I returned around 12:42, and there was brief peace, but the construction work soon began again, and lasted, with only short interruptions until late in the afternoon. (I tried to get by through with simultaneous use of ear-plugs, ANC head-phones with loud music, and a sound bar also playing loud music.) Obviously, even attempting the intended tasks was out.

Today, the same shit started up again—twenty minutes earlier …

As always, there was no notification about the scope of the works, and I have no idea whether I will have peace and quiet tomorrow or whether I will see another six months ruined. I have no idea whether it would make sense to try to go on a vacation or find a secondary apartment—or for how long. Obviously, I am worse off than last year, due to the limits posed by the COVID-19 counter-measures as e.g. travel is less free and spending two hours in a restaurant (to get some time away from the noise) is trickier.

Generally, the amount of problems that have arisen in this house, with these neighbors, with this building management, whatnot, is astounding and entirely disproportionate. Consider for instance:

  1. The entrance to my storage unit in the cellar has been blocked by some type of rubble, pouring out of two openings in the wall, for more than two months … (Note that this does not just make it impossible to access said storage unit, but that it might also be an indication of some type of problem with the building, which would be urgently looked into by any non-negligent building management.) At first, I gave it time, expecting that either building management would act on its own or that one of the neighbors would own up to having caused the issue. As there are at least two* representatives of building management who should have noticed it within a week, this should have been reported fairly soon, even without my intervention. Nope … Eventually, I wrote a letter telling building management to clear this mess up, ensure the safety of the building, and find and bill whatever idiot who had caused this problem. The result was a one-sentence reply, which amounted to one of the neighbors having been notified. Building management appears to have taken no other action, and whoever the neighbor, he has not either …

    *A weekly cleaning lady for the stairs-and-whatnot and someone who carries the garbage cans from the cellar to the street the one day, for collection, and back again the next. (The former is a professional, the latter might or might not be a local contracted for the purpose as some type of “micro-job”.)

  2. I have terminated my contract with the gas supplier, seeing that I use very little gas and have to pay an entirely disproportionate amount through fix monthly fees and that I can avoid the annoying chimney sweep (cf. at least [1], [2]) .* I received a notification from the gas supplier that my contract was terminated—and, a little later, a second notification amounting to “someone has terminated the gas supply to apartment XYZ, likely an old tenant moving out. Because you are the owner, we have automatically opened a new contract** for you.”, an interpretation of events and an action that is utterly absurd. (I have written back.) To boot, the chimney sweep also refuses to accept either that I have terminated my gas supply or that a terminated gas supply would be a valid reason to not check the heater, which from my point of view is just scrap-metal still hanging on the wall. Performing this check without any gas might be an interesting challenge. I wonder whether physically removing it would be enough …

    *Other reasons include that the old gas heater is old, poorly placed in the bathroom, and overly large: even if I continue with gas in the long-haul, it would be after replacing it with something better and more modern. I might or might not do so come winter, but until then I have even less need for gas.

    **This might be an inappropriate term in context, but I do not want to get bogged down in details.

    In effect, I get rid of the gas to avoid unnecessary costs and unnecessary interactions with morons and the result is (a) I have no gas, (b) I am still supposed to pay and to interact with morons.

  3. One or several families with children put their prams and whatnot wherever they like. For instance, the door to the cellar is often blocked by prams. Last week, it was three-seater (!) that would have made it impossible to access the cellar without simultaneously blocking the stairs completely, so that no-one could get in. Even maneuvering it sufficiently to get to the cellar door, even at the price of blocking the stairs, might have required me to go out the front door first (and/or to push the pram out the front door). Certainly, there would have been no chance of getting out of the cellar again, had someone wanting to enter the building put it back while I was down there—and the chances with even a smaller pram might not be brilliant either.* For instance, the access to my storage unit (even rubble aside) is often blocked by a pram. For instance, one of the neighbors often has two trikes (or similar) standing outside her apartment door, partially blocking the stairs and posing a definite risk that someone will stumble and take a fall.

    *There is a connecting door to a neighboring house, so it might be possible to get out that way, assuming that no-one has locked said door …, but that would imply a very major detour.

Excursion on other cases:
Like above, most cases go back to some mixture of human stupidity, irrationality, and lack of respect for others, sometimes in combination with odd coincidences. Politics, e.g., is filled with examples of the opposite being done to what is sound and reasonable, as with some of the COVID-19 reactions*, the attempts to kill nuclear power at all costs, even when this implies that much more damaging fossil fuels must be used, the unholy Conservative/Social-Democrat alliances in German politics, or some of the issues from yesterday’s text**. This, note well, not counting the many cases where I strongly disagree with developments but there is a more legitimate room for different preferences, as with reductions in civic rights “for the safety of the people” and ideologically driven increases in redistributions.

*Probably, all if we look at the specific aspect of lack of a scientific approach and a policy making that amounts to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, but that does not automatically imply that all are actually ineffective, harmful, or otherwise negative. See a great number of older texts for more specific discussions.

**My claim there that “the constant exposure to human stupidity and irrationality” would be the main obstacle to my own happiness needs extension with “human lack of respect for others”, as above. Also see e.g. [3] and [4].

Written by michaeleriksson

July 1, 2020 at 11:02 am

5 Responses

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  1. […] The last few weeks, I have been a little troubled to get work done again. This in part, because I needed a breather; in part, due to the current “interesting times” (note my increased blogging); in part, because the construction work is here again. […]

  2. […] Another cosmic-joke day: […]

  3. […] street to the former location, a literal stone’s throw away, and I cannot help suspecting another cosmic joke. Someone up there is having yet another big laugh at my expense […]

  4. […] The last few weeks, I have been a little troubled to get work done again. This in part, because I needed a breather; in part, due to the current “interesting times” (note my increased blogging); in part, because the construction work is here again. […]

  5. […] another proof that I live in a rotten-to-the-core-building ([1]): and that “Karens” are a matter of women, not specifically White women, feeling entitled and […]


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