The time-honoured way of gaining access to a secure building is to ring the bell, pound on the door or buzz the intercom. In the adult-living environment, it is deemed most important to deny entry to any disreputable sorts loitering about for no good reason. In our storied area, with the whiff of money so fresh on the wind, who comes and goes is surveyed with a jaundiced eye by the residents of the Dead End Hotel.
Now that, my friends, is a less than charitable metaphor to describe Assisted Living buildings. A kinder one does not occur to me so it shall suffice. I could have called it the Prison for Old Ladies Ala Nancy O but the D-E shall suffice.
Today at the front entry to the D-E a small spectacle is taking place. In the vestibule, I stand shouting into the intercom. A group has assembled behind me also waiting to gain entry. My conversation, started in clear measured tones, has disintegrated to me shouting one word at a time to my intended client. Yes, she is deaf as a post. She does have hearing aids but does not deign to put them in to merely converse with unspecified callers.
I give up and wait for one of the people behind to gain entry and slip in. A sharp eyed gentlewoman pushes her walker into my path and asks me if I have valid business here. I side-step here with a smile and flash my badge, wishing it said F.B.I.
After nodding at the concierge, I sprint up two flights of stairs and down the long hall to my destination just in time to witness my client locking her door and heading out for a walk.
How many possible answers are there to the following question asked after introducing myself?
"Can you buzz me in please?"
- no she isnt here yet. (click)
- no, I told you, no one has come yet. (louder click)
- no, I cant understand you. What do you want anyway?
- Yes? (no click)
- Yes? (again) Are you in the hall? (pause) No you are not in the hall. (click)
- I dont buy anything over the phone. (definite click)
- oh- did you want me to buzz you in? Yes? All right then. (click)
- All right I am buzzing you in this time. I press six don't I? (the clear buzz of a nine being pressed)
- Nine you say? Nine what? For heavens sake speak up.
Believe it or not this woman has someone in every morning. How new can it be?