This sign from my landlord has been hanging on the entrance to our building for over a month now and every time I see it I feel inordinately satisfied. The photo, though I felt a small rush when taking it, is not great, but the text reads as follows:
Dear All Tenants,
Pursuant to National Grid gas company, installation of “remote meter reading device” will cost each account $77.00 one time charge to individual account. We are requesting all tenants’ approval to get this device installed so the meter reader guy doesn’t have to hassle Ann or any one of us to read monthly meter and we wouldn’t be getting the estimated bills. We (owner) request every tenant signs following for getting this work done.
$77 to install a meter when we are renting the damn place? Oh-ho! When I saw this the first time, I filled with a rage reserved only for this specific person, my landlord, my only enemy, who refers to himself always as “owner,” weed-wacks our vegetable garden, comes in our apartment while we are gone, and tries to illegally overcharge us for rent. I was convinced he was somehow trying to extort us, but apparently this automatic meter reading is a thing that does cost $72.60 plus tax. A thing I will never pay for as long as I do not own this place.
So I settled down, did some deep breathing, then heard a few of my neighbors gathering around the door and yelling about it. Yes! I walked out into the hallway in my bare feet and joined them in their blessed indignation. My neighbors all drive me crazy but uniting under the rage for our landlord is one of my favorite past times.
“There is no way I’m signing this!” one of them said, in her amazing Long Island accent, cane a-waving.
“Oh we are definitely not signing it,” I said. I crossed my arms and shook my head. Like, dream on, buddy.
The daughter of the woman on the second floor had already signed it. She’d lived in the building her whole life. She was the one who cleaned up the hallway when a mysterious person shat in it (another story for another day). She turned around on her way out.
“Oh man, I didn’t even think about it, I just signed it and got pissed. Okay forget it I’m not signing.” She went back upstairs and got a permanent marker and blacked out her name. My heart swelled.
“He can’t charge us if we all don’t sign it!” one of us said. I suggested we take a photo of the unsigned blanks, just in case he tries to charge each of us $77 anyway (my grandpa was in the FBI, OK? Ha.)
“Yeah!” my neighbor said, and took her phone out, too.
“Stay strong!” she said to me, with her fist up.
“OH I WILL!” I said, getting all excited. And I did. And everyone did. No one signed it, ever. Though I did contemplate writing “LOL” next to our apartment number, but decided he might use it as a signature and charge me $77.
Even Ann, the old lady who has lived here since she got married 60 years ago, said she didn’t mind giving the keys to the National Grid people when they come to read the meter.
The keys of course, are for the basement, which the landlord keeps everyone locked out of. God, I hate him.