For more than ten years, I've lived in an apartment that is essentially in the lobby of the building. Generally, I don't think twice about it. Sometimes it can be loud when people let their kids scream at the top of their lungs as though they are already at the playground, or if there is an unavoidable temper tantrum (by an adult or child). Rarely, I get the stink eye from another tenant passing through the lobby as I enter or exit my apartment, but this is New York. People live where they live. Certainly there are stranger places than an apartment that has an entrance in the lobby. (Hell, I lived for three years in a 200 square foot maid's quarters with no stove or oven that was accessed through a stairwell...) So when the doorbell rang around 5:30 this evening, I thought nothing of it. Perhaps a friend stopped by to say hello, or Husband had some dry cleaning delivered. I opened the door.
Three blond girls, ages 9-12 or so, stood gaping at me. Their caregiver's eyes opened wide. "Yes?" I said. Normally I'd say hello, but I am also not normally stared at as thought I beamed in from Mars.
"Oh, you live here?" the woman said. Her voice rang with shock, as if it was inconceivable that someone would deign to live in a unit off the lobby.
"Uh, yeah. I do live here," I said. I have to admit my tone was not friendly. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"Oh, we didn't know someone lived here, and we were looking for help because we are locked out of the apartment -"
"And there's a DEAD COCKROACH in the basement," one of the girls yelled.
Then I realized that they thought they were going to the super's apartment. That only a super would live in such quarters, and further, that it was totally acceptable to show up at his home and tell him that they were locked out and that there's a dead roach in the basement, as if he is their personal servant. The fact that a "regular" person instead opened the door blew their minds. I was furious.
"Well, if you want help and the doorman isn't here, you can check with the doorman on the other side. He can call the super for you," I said. I was really nasty about it.
"Oh, right, right," the woman said. It had clearly not occurred to them that there are appropriate channels to go through.
"Good luck," I said, and shut the door.
A few seconds later, I heard the doorman come in. "THERE'S A DEAD ROACH IN THE BASEMENT," I heard the girl scream at him.
These are the times that I hate where I live.