creative projects · Fiction · noise in the room upstairs

Entry #5: When Things Break…

I’m an inventor. I’m not sure if I mentioned that before.

More aptly, I like taking things apart to see how they work then try putting them back together with varying degrees of success. The woman in the television accused me of being a simple tinkerer who toys with machines out of some sadistic pleasure. She brought this up again today while I was taking apart a circuit board that I found in the dumpster yesterday.

I wasn’t too happy about this and told her this in no uncertain terms.

She was unrepentant. She sneered at me and said, “Oh, I misspoke. I meant masochistic pleasure. Very few people will willfully endure what you do on a daily basis unless they derive some unnatural pleasure to pain. It’s quite perverted when you think about it.”

I shrugged her off and continued with my work.

I do more than just “toy” with machines! I like to get at the heart of their function—the “why” and “how” of machines. I even dabble in my own projects from time to time.

This has proved to be a very profitable hobby because I’m now the resident handyman. More so than the guy who’s actually paid to come around to fix things. Since this building’s old, things break often. Perhaps more often than I think is legally allowed by city ordinance but that’s a small matter. The landlord hasn’t been sued yet so he must be doing something right.

Yesterday, Mira asked me to repair her dishwasher because Bob, the actual maintenance guy, hasn’t bothered showing up after his initial inspection. It had been a good month since she had first filed the complaint. A couple of days before that, most of the lower floor had to contend with leaky kitchen pipes and carnivorous garbage disposals. Most of my waking hours outside of work have been dedicated to fending off these problems and then some.

Don’t get me wrong. Bob’s a nice guy and all but he’s slow when it comes to most things, especially when they’re relevant to his job. He surprisingly doesn’t mind that I’ve finished up a couple of his work orders for him. He said something like “As long as I get my paycheck by the end of the week, I don’t really give a damn. Knock yourself out.”

That was awfully generous of Bob, I think.

Actually, this whole thing started when I decided to repair the chain smoker’s toaster two weeks ago. He left the dusty thing outside my door at 12 in the morning with a post-it that said “Fix Me.” At the time, I didn’t know who it belonged to but decided to obey the frank command anyway. It turned out to be nothing but a simple wiring issue though I should’ve suspected him since there was more ash than normal layered at the bottom. He came back for it two days later and paid me this time with a blueberry pie and twenty dollars.

That man is an extraordinary baker! It was delicious in spite of his favorite bitter ingredient. You know, it might’ve helped the flavor.

I suspect that despite the chain smoker’s quiet demeanor he’s a bit a blabbermouth because the very next day I was receiving request from everyone in the apartment to fix something.

I’ve fixed everything from TVs to mp3s to toaster ovens to electronic mixers. It takes away a good chunk of my nights but it’s all worth it.

In fact, I wanted to become an engineer not too long ago. I could have but I wasn’t too into the theoretical side of it. I wanted to figure out how to make things work, create schemas for prototypes, and find out what fit together. I almost made it but then I stopped. Mom suggested that I probably stretched myself out too thin but I’m more of the opinion that college just isn’t for me.

This realization dawned on me in March of my senior year while eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. The O’s spelled out my future and I didn’t like what I saw. A sense of dread haunted me for the next few weeks and I started to hear odd knockings on my bedroom door. I wanted to answer it but I was afraid that my future was lying in wait on the other side. When I saw a raven perched on top of the engineering building, I packed up my stuff and left.

My family found my string of sudden decisions worrying. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get a call from my mom or sister asking when I plan on returning. I got a strongly worded email from my father a week ago saying that “Slowly but surely, you’re throwing your life away!” and “Do you really want to work at a greasy fast food window for the rest of your life?!” Oh, the humanity!

I think they’re overreacting and it’s not like I’m just resigning myself to flipping burgers. I have a plan. It’s been years in the making but I feel as if I’m on the threshold of something major. I’m still not comfortable going into greater detail here as of yet. Just know that it’s coming along “slowly but surely.”

I think I’ll officially end this entry here.

Someone’s knocking at the door.

Final Edit: 15 April 2016



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