A few weeks ago the building I work in had a problem with the heating on my floor (6th) and the temperature shot up to 87 degrees.  It stayed there for over a week.  Late November, in the northern quadrant of the central United States, and we’re all wearing short sleeves, turning on fans, and mopping our perspiring foreheads.  If you stayed away from the windows it was easy to imagine it was late July.

Well, they “fixed” it.  Now the temperature starts at 57 and occasionally tops out at 67–on a really good day.  This has been going on for two weeks.  People sit at their computers wearing jackets and shivering.  If you stay away from the windows it’s easy to imagine you’re in the Arctic Circle.  The smokers look forward to going outside so they can warm up.

If you read an earlier post of mine, you know this building has been sold and we are moving out Christmas Eve.  I think we hurt its feelings, because it’s starting to act like a jilted spouse: Hell hath no fury like a building scorned.  The drastic temperature swings were just the beginning; recently lots of the sinks have started plugging up, and some of the automatic faucets have stopped automatically working.  And–my personal favorite–the malfunctioning bathroom doors. 

I THOUGHT I was leaving the men’s room and going to lunch last week, but the building decided I should stay there a little bit longer.  The men’s room door would not open and let me out.  I tried it repeatedly, rattling it, pounding it, glaring at it angrily–nothing worked. 

Do you know how embarrassing it is to be trapped in a bathroom?  Get trapped in an elevator, an office, even a maintenance closet, and people feel sorry for you.  Get trapped in a bathroom and they laugh.  Try it sometime–you’ll see I’m right.  Yes, there are some definite advantages to it–especially if you’re in there for a longer period of time.  But still…

Someone eventually heard me and promised to get help.  Right after they left the door suddenly worked and I escaped.  It was as though the building was saying, “I didn’t really mean anything by it, I just want to be respected.” 

I haven’t gone to the bathroom since; it’s just too traumatic.