Why oh why don’t I own stock in U-Haul?!

Some folks hang welcome signs on their front doors. On mine hangs a question mark.

I live in an aging building that's 96 years old in a neighborhood that's a bit sketchy, dicey.

My apartment looks directly onto a street where a more, um, unseemly type passes. The three windows at street level offer a straight look into the apartment.

The window frames are comprised of decaying wood and have old locks better befitting a more honest past era.

The metal screens are rusted. One featherweight touch sends the disintegrated material into a heap inside the frame. And the screens have holes. Gaping holes.

This is the screen that's over the kitchen window:

This is the screen that's over the central window; my hand indicates the length of the hole:

This is the same screen viewed from outside:

This is the frame. It's pretty weather-beaten and fragile:

These are the locks from the days of yore:

Major security and safety issues are at stake here. Anyone passing by could breach the boundaries with a gentle push against the frames through the holes in the screen that shout easy access

So I brought these deficiencies, these results of longstanding negligence, up with the manager/owner during a walk-through. There are also blinds that are missing or malfunctioning. Definitely doesn't add to the sense of security or privacy.

Their response to replacing the blinds with new cheapo vinyls? Not happy but forced into it. You'd have thought I'd requested a Mazarati.

The gaping holes in the screens. I said I feel unsafe, uneasy. Not sleeping well. Anyone could easily break in. Steal stuff. Kill me or worse.

Okay, I didn't say those things. But I was thinking them.

They took a look. Acknowledged the screens are bad. But were unaffected and unmoved by my concerns or the clear absence of safety.

When can they be repaired, I asked.


Next month? I gulp silently.

Because they've got a renovation due at the end of this month.

I can appreciate that. I work with renovation deadlines myself. Still.

Well then, can I rescreen them myself? Or have one of my work mates do it?

Didn't like that idea. Continued looking for a way to skirt the matter.

Nothing's every happened to any tenant here, they said.

That you know of, I wanted to reply, but I kept my mouth shut. Even if it's true, it doesn't prevent something from happening. Shit happens every day.

I bring the matter back to security. Said that if I must wait a month in these conditions, then will they accept a rent reduction?

I wanted to also ask whether they'll accept responsibility if I get killed or raped or the apartment gets robbed, but again keep these thoughts to myself.

They hear the words rent reduction and say they screens will be repaired by week's end.

We will see.

In the meantime, I've got hanging sheets standing in for blinds. Wide-open holes in the screens that anyone passing can see. Am sleeping with one eye open and a makeshift weapon within arm's reach under the bed.

Negligence. It creates a sieve that undermines another's safety.

There's a lot more to this than what's presented here, really deep issues around my mother and negligence and safety. My eyes are wide open to the lessons and I know what's being asked of me to heal them.

Only time will tell whether this stay will be short or longer.

Trials by fire. Always my style.

And I really should look into getting that seat on the U-Haul board of directors.

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