Friday, June 19, 2009

A Very Long Overdue Rant

About thirteen months ago, my husband and I were victims of an unprovoked, and very random, attack by three unknown young men - at the time, they were 20, 22 and 23 years of age. The attack occurred while we were responding to what should have been a routine noise complaint made by one of the other tenants of the apartment building where we were Building Managers. Within seconds, it was all too apparent that this was anything but routine. What should have been fairly straightforward and quick to resolve, quickly escalated to a harrowing and extremely violent and savage beating and stabbing of my husband. While the blame obviously lies in the hands of the three young men who initiated this attack, I hold one of the the other tenants primarily responsible for the resulting escalation of violence. I strongly feel that is was his actions immediately prior to the attack that nearly ended up costing my husband his life. I'm very surprised that something similar had not actually happened before this, and while I still hold a huge amount of anger and resentment towards my husband's attackers, there are times when I find myself angrier and extremely bitter towards this tenant. In the end, I suspect that I will find it easier to forgive the attackers before I will be able to forgive the tenant. Not only did his actions, immediately prior to the attack, do much to exascerbate an already potentially volatile situation, but his utter lack of action while we were being attacked and immediately after resulted in even greater injury to my husband.

This was his second complaint in less than 25 minuted that day to me regarding his neighbours. During his second call that day, I requested that he please give the police a call to issue a formal complaint against his neighbours. Generally regarding noise issues, the landlord, or his agent, is not really supposed to contact the police. At a later date, there is always the possibility that the tenant could end up charging the landlord with harassment, as well as a number of other things, because of this particulat type of action. It is preferable to have a third party make the noise complaint to the authorities, thus allowing the landlord to maintain his neutrality. In fact, the very fact that we were even receiving a noise complaint from one tenant against another tenant within the building was practically unheard of. This was, and still is, an exceptionally quiet and calm building. It is extremely unusual to hear noise of any kind. In fact, I can easily count on one hand, the number of noise complaints in total that we have even received since we began working here. This particular problem simply does not exist within this building. Kind of ironic when you think about it now, but the few noise complaints that we have actually received, surprisingly, have all come from the exact same tenant. Colour me surprised.

Shortly after Jim and I had started working as Building Managers at this property, we were contacted by this particular individual regarding a tenant that lived on the floor beneath his. On this particular afternoon, apparently, the tenant residing below him had been listening to here reggae music quite loudly - is this even possible? He requested that one of us go and investigate what was happening, so immediately upon hanging up the phone, off I went. As I arrived at the floor that the other tenant lived on, I witnessed the complaining tenant walking away from her unit. During this time, I also witnessed her response apparently to his direct involvement in this situation. She was shouting quite loudly at him through her closed door to "f**k off, leave her alone, stop coming to her door using his cane to knock loudly on it until she came to her door". Hmmm, most interesting.

Typically, we encourage tenants not to get directly involved whatsoever with each other when it concerns any type of noise issues. Surprisingly, there is a tendancy for violence to develop between the two tenants. We strongly advise the complaining tenant to allow their Building Managers to handle this situation. We ask that they give us reasonable time to investigate said complaint, as well as time to resolve any issues associated with their complaint. This is pretty much the industry standard, and the majority of Building Managers do their damnest to adhere as much as possible to this procedure. Problem is that it is next to impossible to do this when you've got a loose cannon thrown into the equation. Lucky us, as this is exactly what this tenant is, a loose cannon - may I add at this time that I'm being very charitble describing him as such. He is the type of tenant that is utterly incapable of leaving well enough alone. He has to be right in the middle of everything, and generally ends up doing more harm than good, not to mention, undermining our job each and every step along the way. This guy in particular is really quite the piece of work. He is a walking cliche and stereotype come to life.

The day of our attack, I can easily imagine all sorts of petty and annoying things that he was bothering his neighbour about because this would be his way of getting back at them for their allegedly disruptive behavior. Not that his behaviour in any way excuses or remotely mitigates the other three individual's subsequent violent actions towards Jim or myself. Not at all, but I wonder if what ultimately ended up happening that Monday afternoon just over a year ago, could have possibly been avoided entirely, not to mention allowed us to handle the situation differently then what ended up happening. I believe that are options for resolution ended up being rather limited, as well as being almost completely out of our control by this time. In the end, this resulted with us walking into a completely different situation than what we had expected and anticipated, and right from the outset, we were set up to fail somehow or someway because we only had the smallest of pictures, so tp speak. If it wasn't bad enough that it was due to his actions towards his neighbour over the course of that particular afternoon ended up with is being attacked, he did absolutely nothing at all to help us in anyway while we were under attack.

Later on in the day, he was interviewed by one of our local tv reporters and what he said to the reporter ended up being played at each news broadcast over a three day period. He was able to describe to this report what actually had happened when we approached his neighbours door. He had a good enough view of us to recount how we had been given no chance at all from our attackers. He stated that after we had approached their door and knocked on it, the moment that their door opened, I was pushed off to the side, while Jim was charged and thrown violently up against the door across the hall from them. He said that we weren't given any opportunity at all to even identify ourselves before they attacked. At least he confirmed part my statement that I ultimately gave to the police that it was a completely unprovoked and unwarranted attack against us. But that's about all that he is good for as the only thing that I am able to bring away from this is that he was lying in wait for us to arrive at his neighbours door, essentially spying to see what was going to happen. Then after seeing how they ended up responding to us, rather than attempt to assist us in any way, and by any, I mean he didn't even call 911 on our behalf. All he ended up doing was slamming his door and locking it behind him. Nice.

At one point during their attack against us, I found myself outside of his unit, screaming for help and pounding relentless on his door. When he did finally respond, all he did was open his door to quickly slam and lock it right in my face. Through the closed door, I remember scrreaming at him that they were killing my husband, and begging and pleading for him to either call for help or call downstairs to our main office. I understand that when he looked out into the hall, what he must have seen scared him half to death. I know it surely did me. At no time did I expect anyone to put their own lives in any sort of danger by actually physicallly assisting us, but I had hoped that somebody would pick up their bloody phone to call for help. Whatever...

Initially, I had actually doubted whether or not the complaining tenant was exaggerating the extent of his neighbour's disruption on this particular afternoon, as his reputation preceeded him. Every high rise has this tenant, some even a few. They are the ones that know absolutely every little thing about their immediate neighbours, as well as the majority of tenants in the entire complex. Rarely are they ever satisfied with the property management nor their direct representatives, their Building Managers. The company can never do enough for them, whether it is ensuring the cleanliness of the property, its daily maintenance and upkeep or anything else that they could possibley think of bothering the office about. They feel entitled to getting a new paint job annually or new carpet or flooring or lighting or whatever, and goodness, don't let them find out that another unit may have gotten an appliance replaced for whatever reason, like, perhaps after thirty years, a new stove was actually warranted. They are absolutely incapable of leaving you alone. On a daily basis, you can be assured that they will somehow find a way to contact you, and believe me, it will never be to pat you on the back for doing a kickass job either!

Every other tenant understands when asked to contact their Building Managers during business hours only. After hours is to be reserved for emergencies only. This tenant doesn't care what time it is. When he has a bee in his bonnet, then this is the time. Who cares if it happens to be a Sunday evening before 11pm - or better yet, a Saturday morning before 7am. If he has decided that he just wants his first initial appearing on the tenant listing at the building's entrance, rather than his full first name, then to him, this is very much an emergency and the moment this idiotic idea grips his tiny, narrow mind, he just has to let his BM know. To really drive home just how utterly self centred and egomaniacal this idiot is, he doesn't even have a modicum of courtesy when he attempts to reach you. He couldn't be bothered using the telephone to communicate said ridiculous request. Instead, to ensure that the BM's entire family is disrupted, he actually goes directly to their unit and knocks loudly and relentlessly on their unit's door - even though he could have also submitted a written request and dropped it through the door's mail slot that I got hastily put up shortly after meeting said nuisance. Everyone else managed to adapt nicely and quickly to this alternate route for communication. In the end, of course, he had to because a policy was implemented that no request by a tenant would be addressed unless submitted in writing to either the property management or their agent, their Building Manager.

Anyway, I'm sure that you have more than enough information now to be able to draw your own picture of this tenant. Given the time and opportunity, I could easily go on and on about this tenant as he is truly that annoying. In the end, it was kind or ironic that he stopped being his normal daily nuisance around this place. I presume that somehow he was able to connect the dots to figure out that perhaps he played a larger role than he imagined in the violence against us. I'd like to think that when he heard the extent of my husband's injuries combined with the near seven hours of emergency surgery that he had to endure immediately after the attack, not to mention the last rites he received from the family priest that day, that just for a moment, he felt a tinge of guilt or possibley a modicum of responsibilty for what had occurred. If he did, I doubt very much that it ended up lasting too long. His type can too easily dismiss away these intruding feelings pretty readily. Its second nature to them as they've had a lifetime of practice.


TerminallyUniq said...

Wow! This is an amazingly sad and upsetting story for me to read and yet, I'm so very glad that you shared it ... if that makes sense?

I am curious about how and why you have managed to keep this inside of you (maybe not inside, but without posting it in writing) for so very long! I say kudos to you for letting it out in writing, which I personally find a great way to help "process."

Well, I don't know that I have any words of wisdom, but my thoughts, prayers and good vibes are certainly with you as you and your husband continue to heal, both physically and emotionally.

grphxman1 said...

Hence the saying, "Fences make good neighbors". This doesn't quite apply in apartments, but every neighborhood has at least one of these. My mother has lived next door to a manic/depressive nut job for 40 years. It would take a book longer than War and Peace just to document her greatest hits, let alone the entire story. Not to mention my mother is the most non-confrontational person I've ever encountered lest you get the idea that this was a 2 way affair. In todays crazy, angry world it's near impossible to avoid contact with people like this. Just a thought...can't you find cause to send this "spreader of joy" *smirk* on his merry way?