Some things are suprisingly difficult


It’s getting warm here, and we’re expecting up to 36º in the next week, so naturally I wanted the property company to send someone to install the a/c that I have in the closet. They take it out in the winter, as they are essentially elaborate pipes through which cold air will pass. I sent a request to have it installed, and when I got home the a/c was gone. Not installed, gone.

It turned out that instead of installing my a/c, the people the property company sent had first attempted to remove my neighbour’s swamp cooler from his roof, and then, when my neighbour kindly directed them to the correct house, decided to install the a/c in apartment 4, which is presently empty, instead of apartment 3, which is where I live. I mailed the property company any asked, and they gave me the following reply:

“The vendor did not take away your A/C unit. There was some confusion based on the email you had written in regards to the A/C Unit. Your email which was given directly to the Vendor did say to extract the A/C from your closet and put it in the other unit. The vendor understood this to mean into Unit 4, so that is where the A/C was installed. The vendor assumed since your unit had an A/C already installed in the kitchen window that it had been taken care of. This is because there are no other units in the home that have more than 1 A/C unit in them.”

This raises the question what I actually asked the vendors to do. Here are my first mail, sent through the property company’s home page, in which I can *only* send messages that concern my own apartment, or the garden, or the driveway:

“A/C needs to be installed, and I don’t want to even try to do that on my own as I might drop it out of the window”

Apartment 4 is conspicuous only by its absence. I then sent a clarifying mail to the property company:

“There is no swamp cooler to activate or service in my apartment. There is an a/c that needs to be put into the main window of the living room. This a/c will be in the closet next to the entry, and the window is on the wall facing the street.”

Again, no mention of apartment 4, but an explicit mention that I want it installed in the living room, in the window facing the street. The only windows in apartment 4 faces away from the street.

I have no idea whether or not the vendors actually said what they are supposed to say, or if this is Mark lying again, because that has happened several times before in almost every single case of maintenance work I’ve needed done… So today, after Debb found the a/c that was supposed to go in apartment 4 in the laundry room, I sent this mail, which will hopefully remove all ambiguities:

“Make it clear to your vendors that this time there should be no ambiguity about where this unit should be installed:
I want the a/c that they will find on the floor of the kitchen in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) to be installed in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), in the living room, which is the room next to, and directly west of, the room in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) in which they will find the a/c unit. The place where it should be installed is, again, in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), in the middle window of the three that are on the far wall of *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), facing the street (that is, the narrow, paved stretch of land which the vendors used to arrive at the house), and not towards the garden (the rectangular, non-paved area behind the house which the vendors hopefully will find no reason to enter). The fact that they will find both *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) and the a/c on the second floor should also make it clear that I do not intend the a/c to be installed in any window facing south or north, as there are no such suitable windows on the second floor.

You should stress, in your communication with them, that AT NO POINT, before the a/c is installed in *MY* window (facing the street) in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) should there be a need for them to parade *MY* a/c unit out of the front door of *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), nor down the stairs, nor out of the house, nor into any other apartment of the same house or any other house in the neighbourhood, or indeed any other house globally. I mention this last part as I was told by my neighbour that the vendors’ initial attempt at installing *MY* a/c in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) had them climbing up onto the roof of our neighbour’s house, attempting to activate their swamp cooler. Again, and this must be imparted as absolutely crucial to this work order, the a/c unit is at no point to leave the apartment in which it is found, which I hereby define as any part of the house (174 P Street) that can be accessed only by the front door of *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor). There is a sticker saying “Darwin Loves You” on the door I hereby define as the “font door”, and *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) is exclusively, exhaustively, and entirely found on the reverse side of this door from the side that has the sticker on it; that is: the apartment if found behind this door, and is revealed by the opening of this door, whereupon its extent is defined fundamentally by the surrounding walls, and does not in any way, shape, form, fashion, or by any interpretation extend to any geographical area, whether real or imagined, that can only be reached by passing through the front door in the reverse direction, except by way of the windows or by the destruction of any of the surrounding walls, floor, or ceiling. The vendors are strongly discouraged to interpret the fact that the enclosed space defined above can be exited through the window as evidence that the apartment extends to any area outside the windows or the apartment as defined above. Further, the vendors are not to destroy any part of the floor, walls, ceiling, or windows, in an effort to effect a more liberal definition of what area of space actually constitutes *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), or indeed for any other reason, including, but not limited to, revenge, incompetence, accidents, political or religious conviction, negligence, or preventable acts of gods. Note that any such action will not be considered an actual expansion of *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), and thus is not valid grounds to contradict any of the other text herein. If at any point they find themselves outside *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor), as defined here, with the a/c, they are to immediately return to *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) and install it there.

As an initial baseline, we will assume that a simple three-dimensional model of the universe is sufficient for what I, perhaps due to my lack of experience, perceive to be a simple installation. If this simplicity is illusory, and the vendors find that such a model is confining, constricting, restricting, impractical, implausible, or inapplicable, and that a contrasting scheme needs to be consulted, whether sidereal, aethereal, non-euclidian, imaginary, perverse, random, or of any other symmetry or constitution, they are encouraged to contact me for consultation; if they cannot reach me they should be instructed to contact you, as you have at least a basic understanding of the spatial and temporal dimensions of *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor). In no manner and by no means is such a revelation, discovery, or philosophical inclination sufficient to countermand any other instructions contained herein without prior consultation!

I will place helpful notes on the a/c unit and the window and the front door, as well as attach a piece of string to the a/c unit and extend this string towards the window in which I want the a/c installed, so that any residual ambiguity about what my intentions are with regards to them installing the a/c in *MY* window (facing the street) in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) will evaporate instantly. By following the string, the vendors will be unable to arrive at an incorrect location for the installation.

In addition, if you let me know when they will be over, I will work from home at the time, so that any questions they may have with regards to this work order can be placed to me directly, and their personal prejudices, opinions, initiatives, difficulties, preferences, convictions (whether religious, philosophical, political, spiritual, or of any other mode), inhibitions, ambitions, perceptions, perversions, peculiarities, delusions, insecurities, motivations, doubts, or ideas about interior design or the healthy flow of qi (or any other energy, whether real, imaginary, or illusory, and regardless of shape, form, mode, phase, grade, degree and nature of manifestation, or other applicable characteristics) throughout the premises may thus expediently be obviated. The instructions contained herein should be considered paramount, and supersede any personal inclinations of any person or group of persons (whether living, dead, future, imaginary, illusory, theoretical, supernatural, legal, or otherwise) who do not live in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor).

Through this extensive and detailed appendix to my previous and evidently insufficient request, I hope I will be able to expiate any confusion I may have caused by being simple and straightforward and merely assuming that people would understand that my explicit statement that I wanted an a/c installed in *MY* apartment (unit 3, 174 P Street, second floor) in the window facing the street could not be understood, by processes unknown to me, to mean that I wanted to have it installed in a separate apartment, to which I have no access and in which I thereby would be unable to enjoy the benefits of the installation, in a window facing away from the street. I also hope that this more particular account of my wishes will forestall any future nonsense about what these wishes actually contain, consist of, entail, or will cause as a direct consequence. I therefore hope that the idiocy that occurs when the vendors try to blame me for their lack of competence will end here and now. I trust you will agree, Mark, that any future such accusations necessarily lacks any foundation in reason, facts, deductions, empiry, logic, or reality, and can be dismissed as the poppycock they are.”

Hopefully this will resolve the issue satisfactorily.

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