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February 24, 1974 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

I

Page Five

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

P ERSPECTIVE

We're fall guys and buffers:
students as Resident Managers

By BLATCHFORD JASMINE
EVARE the fall guys. We lose
sleep looking for lost dogs.
We placate residents who can't
pay rent "because of this lump
on my breast here"; we are
cheap and easy to replace; we
are another buffer in the com-
plex system of insulation created
by big management and land-
lords to shield themselves from
their tenants.
We are a strange breed: we
are the Resident Managers of
Ann Arbor apartment buildings.
Companies, compensation and
building size may differ. As a
rule, though, we are full time stu-
dents who need work to make
ends meet.
Lured to the job by visions of
luxury, stature and the privacy
of living alone, we are the front
line for tenant complaints: the
garbage man, parking attendant,
feces scooper and snow shoveler.
'THE CRASH of the door knock-
er reverberates in my mid.
In that semi-slee, that I've
learned to accent. I wnll on jeans
andsweater and glance at the
clerk. 3:28 a.m.
There thev are-stoned, eyes
half-closed, reeking of beer.
"Where's the dog?"
"Whaaa.
"The dog man, the dog. Have
yon een the dog?"
"Ahh." I remember a dog
barking while trying to sleep.
" Where the fuck did you put
the dog?" His wavering Is ludi-
crnis. -
"No dne man," I say, waking
un. "Didn't see one, thoueht I
heard one, didn't see one, didn't
touch one either. Sorry, hope you
find it."
I sht the door, snap the dead-
bolt; throw the autonilot in my
head to "off" and fall into my
bed. Halfway out of my jeans I
heara mumble.
"He was pretty nice for being
awakened in the middle of the
night."
* * *
rTyy BE a Resident Manager,
one must be many things for
many people. Some residents in-
sist that you know their most in-
timate problems, often using a
late rent as an excuse to pour
auttheir hearts.:
Others feel ian R.M. is an an-
thorty figure to be baited and
teased. Firecrackers go off un-
der my window and I find m
name graffitied on the elevator
walls.
Some tenants feel the R.M. i
a logical extension of the land-
lord: a tightfisted Shylock buin-
ing young innocents for hard-
earned pennies.
Although most tenants are con-
siderate, some suffer for the
thoughtlessness of a few. This is
only one of the dilemmas in
which the R.M. finds himself. A
defensive conditioning develops.
When the phone rings, I expect
the worst and an often unsympa-
thetic. Negative residents stimu-

late negative responses, even if
they have legitimate complaints.
One of a landlord's favorite
ploys is "The Big Stall," a de-
vice that frustrates a tenant by
buck-passing, excuses, and time
delays. The problem "goes
away" (read "solved" for land-
lords) when the tenant decides
his time is too valuable to waste
in a waiting room. When the boss
goes home at 5, the R.M. must
then answer for uncompleted
work, for he is the most readily
accessible. Confronted with a
complaint and yet impotent to
interfere with a matter handled

by the main office, the R.M. can
offer only sympathy.
* * *
THE FOLKS in number 12 want
their bedframes removed, so
they send a representative down
to me. I tell her that she's got to
call the maintenance company
because the job requires a truck
and access to storage space. She
calls maintenance but everyone's'
out and the answering service
is on. The tenant comes back,
frustrated that she could only
get a recording. I say I'll try,
and so I put my own message
on the recorder. Then I call

management to explain the situ-
ation and get some idea of when
someone will be available to take
out the bedframes. "Today? Next
week? Just so I can give the
woman an idea." The secretary
says she'll see.
All of a sudden six men and
three trucks are working on two
lousy- bedframes. They all picked
up one of the three messages,
and the management gets billed
for six men at $4 an houreach.
I get a call the next day from
the building's owner-"If anyone
wants bedframes out . . . you
do it."
* * *
ERNIE AND I are walking up
to the fourth floor. He's an
old maintenance man from Dex-
ter, competent and sensitive. The
savior for many tenants, he
somehow perseveres through the
red tape, triplicate work orders,
and bitchy tenants who ask him
to move walls.
While we climb, he is rapping
about the judicial process.
"Now you take this guy from
New Jersey .. ."
"Anywhere you say, Ernie."
"Now there's a man who owns
his home, and has it broken into
twice. So before leaving the next
time, he sets up a shotgun with a
string to the front door. And,
sure enough, ,he leaves and some-
one tries to break in, and gets
himself blown to hamburger."
We're going to break the lock
on a door. Some Superfly types
hadn't paid the rent in three
months and had apnarently final-
ly split. Only problem was they
had changed the locks.
"Now this guy got convicted of
manslaughter," Ernie explains.
"You tell me if that's fair. If
somebody wants to be a joker,
that's all right with me. But he
shouldn't interfere with my life,
thassall."
I couldn't disagree. Inside, the
apartment is abandoned. I find
a .22 caliber bullet and Ernie
finds some sunglasses. The
shades fit him.

"Hey, not a total loss after
all."
* .* .*
The problems lie with both land-
lord and tenant. If a landlord in-
sulates himself with layers of
Resident Managers, secretaries
and answering services, he be-
comes insensitive to tenants. He

chastising me for not being at
home to pass out a vacuum
cleaner. The phone rings and it's
someone asking why the steps
haven't been salted; he almost
fell and will sue. Taking off my
coat and dropping my notebooks,
I wonder if the heat in this place
will ever work right, and what's

Why waste time studying or
watching TV when you
could be playing pool?
POOL IS PARTICIPATION
THE MICHIGAN UNION
BILLIARD ROOM
I= IN -

Some feel a Resident Manager is
an authority figure to be baited and
teased. Firecrackers go off under my
window and I find my name graffit-
tied on the elevator walls. Others feel
the R.M. is a logical extension of the
landlord: a tightfisted Shylock burn-
ing young innocents for hard-earned
pennies.
4yM vd .J.^v~srwr}.":<tigsStir4 ii{r s:" i.a: {. S'.m ot n"}> r": r:

in collaboration with the
Experimental Theater Festival
a repeat performance of
ROUND AS A HOLE
by SKIP STORM
AND

A TOUC
by DONNA KOS
SUNDAY, Feb. 24

H OF MIME
ST ond CONNIE RATHBUN
7 p.m. Barbour Gymnasium

GRADUATE STUDENTS WELCOME!

can judge only symptoms, such
as sinking rent collections and
rising maintenance bills. Such
symptoms are a clear sign of
problems, for which expenditures
will be necessary. Yet when col-
lections are down, reluctance to
disburse service goes up.
Tenants, frustrated with per-
sonal or rental problems often
damage the property in its com-
mon areas, making it unattrac-
tive, unpleasant, and often dan-
gerous, A single tenant who
throws a brick through a foyer
window casts all the occupants
in his image. To repair the dam-
age, the landlord dips into in-
come or insurance. The net re-
sult is always the same: to
amend any problem costs money,
and quite simply, that money
comes from rent.
* * *
There is a note on my door

going to happen if I take some
time off over spring break.
I start the shower so people
won't knock, turn around and
head for a beer.

OYR

GRAD
COFFEE
HOUR
WEDNESDAY
8-10 p.m.
West Conference
Room, 4th Floor
RACKHAM

Blatch ford Jasmine is, clearly, a
pseudonym for a local student and
apartment Resident Manager who
fears that his true identity would
seriously jeopardize his financial
future.

__.

Ja Tu

Ty Tarn

.
II
iit

by JOHN ZEBROWSKI
Fifty two poems exploring
the individuals relation to experience
in the modern world
$1.50
available in Ann Arbor at
FOLLETTS CENTICORE e ULRICH'S
i UNIVERSITY CELLAR

i

JACOBSON'S
WILL BE CLOSED,
FOR INVENTORY
next
TUESDAY, FEB. 26
Jacob sorxYs

;
,
!.
t
.
;II
-- _ - _-

N

7

Box 3908--San Juan, PR. 00904

pose

SAT., SUN., & WED. at 2 4 s'university
1, 3,5, 7, & 9 .'w
MON , TUES.5at 7& 9 ONLY C A MPUS
Theatre Phone 668-6416
Robert
Redford
as eem iah
Johnsn"
A SYDNEY P I ILM 4
The man

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