When writing this story I realized that it would be best presented in several parts…
My air conditioner is dead, literally. The other week it decided to go out in a blaze of glory. At first it was just a small squeaking noise that I mistook for Alfalfa. Then, the unit started to vibrate. I dutifully called the apartment management and asked them to send the maintenance guy (MG) out to look at it. He promptly came out and began to intensely stare at it with a menacing glare. I thought to myself, ‘Oh, yea. That look is going to fix the damn thing.’ He turned it on and off several times, tuned the temperature up and down, and turned other settings on and off. The unit continued to make the squealing noise and vibrate.
MG took two steps back and leaned his head to the right. “Hmnnnn,” he said out loud.
“What?” I asked from the kitchen. I had retreated there out an abundance of safety. MG had a crazed look in his eye when he walked into my apartment. I was not concerned for my own safety but for the safety of my appliance. After all he was an expert in all things ‘maintenance’. The unit began to vibrate more violently.
MG placed his hands on his hips and said, “There is only one way to fix this thing…”
“What?” I asked stupidly. “How are you going to fix it?”
“Like this,” he declared and took two steps closer to the air conditioner. He lifted his right arm and began to pound on the unit. Seeing and hearing this I quickly ducked under the kitchen table. I was in fear of flying air conditioner parts. Let me stop here and explain something about the MG. He is a very nice guy. He has two kids and a great wife. He is a total gentleman and always goes out of his way to help me. However, he has one flaw: he has a potty mouth. So, it is not unusual to hear a stream of curse words coming out his mouth when something is not going his way. This was the case with my air conditioner. MG let a stream of curse words as he pounded on the unit. I think the air conditioner would have been crying and apologizing for unrealized sins if were human. At best it would have been yelling, ‘Mercy! Mercy!’
The pounding stopped. The apartment was blissfully quiet and so was the air conditioner. I heard in a strong southern drawl, “Mam?”
I stuck my head up from under the table, “Yes?”
“Why you down there?” he asked with true curiosity.
“Dropped something…” I explained standing up and dusting myself off. “Is it fixed?”
“She’s running good now!” he declared with a proud smile on his face. “Is that all fer today?”
“Yes, that will do. Thank you,” I said. MG turned and unlocked my door. He gave me a final good-bye and slammed the door.
My air conditioner shifted and fell out of the hole in the wall that contained it. Luckily it fell to the outside and not the inside on Alfalfa’s area. I let out a loud scream of fear and ran over to the new gaping hole in my wall. The damn thing was still running as it dangled from the cord. I yelled out the hole, “MG, MG, MG!” (I used his real name which has been withheld for privacy reasons.) MG turned as he was walking out the foyer of the building. He smiled at me and then realized that I was yelling for him through the wall.
Luckily I live on the first floor of my building. The floor is half-submerged below ground. MG ran down the stairs and around to the opening. “Turn it off!” he yelled.
“I can’t,” I yelled back. “The damn thing is outside! You are closer!”
“Oh,” he said leaning down and turning off the unit. “I’ll give you some slack so you can unplug it.” I carefully unplugged the unit and tossed the cord out of the opening. MG placed the air conditioner on the ground. “Well, that’s the problem,” he declared as if an ultimate victor over the air conditioner.
I couldn’t help myself, “Ya think?” I asked sarcastically.
“The seal broke…that helps hold it in the window…no wonder it was shaking…” he explained to me and the air conditioner.
“Can you fix it?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said with all of the confidence of an experienced MG. “Let me just get some duct tape.” He turned and walked towards his work shed. MG managed to get the unit back into the window and repair the broken seal with lots of duct tape. However, the air conditioner refused to work again. The fan had managed to dig itself into the wall of the unit and burn out the motor. I needed a new air conditioner. The old unit was left in the wall to act as a bug, creature, and security barrier. MG told the property manager that I needed a new unit and new seal for the unit. I waited for my new air conditioner to arrive…but that’s part two of the story… And yes, it does involve Alfalfa…