I got a call on my cell phone this afternoon while at work. It was my all-purpose ring (as opposed to the specific ones assigned to family and friends), and I took a look at the number displayed on the caller id before answering. It was not familiar, but I took a chance and picked up.
“Marisa, this is Margie, from the building’s office.”
As soon as she identified herself, I started to worry. The management staff in my building don’t call unless there’s a problem or you’ve done something wrong. There are a lot of rules governing our lives in under this communal roof, so it’s easy to do something wrong. Before I could get too worried, or come out and ask what the problem was, she continued.
“I’ve had your name on the waiting list for a spot in the bike room for a very long time, and today one opened up. Would you like it?”
Would I like it? Yes, please!
About six months after I moved into my apartment, I discovered by chance that the building has a bike room. I was taken aback by this knowledge, having felt totally sure that I knew everything that there was to know about the building (after all, I spent a whole lot of time around here while I was growing up). With this information in hand, I got the key to the bike room and headed down there. As I worked the key into the lock and pushed the reluctant door open, I was sad to discover that it was not the usable storage room I was hoping for, but was instead stacked three bikes deep and smelled like someone had been using it as a restroom.
I returned the key, took my bike back up to my apartment and thought about the mess of the bike room. An idea started to sprout in my head. I decided that the board should clean out the bike room, replace the light and really make it a functional space. I let the idea tumble around my head for a while, but eventually wrote a letter to the board, outlining my plan for the bike room. The gist of my plan was that I wanted them to let building residents rent a spot in the bike room for an annual fee, and limit the number of bikes allowed in the room. I turned in my letter and didn’t think about it again for some time.
Several months later, I got home from work to a memo tucked under my door. It seems that the board was adopting my proposal (they actually used large chunks of my letter verbatim), and was asking people to go to the office, to sign up for spots in the bike room. I went down the next day and signed up. Soon after, my boyfriend and I broke up, and I spent some time a little disconnected from the rest of the world. When I finally came to, I realized that I had never heard back about my spot. I stopped by the office, and they had no record of me ever signing up. What’s more, the bike room was filled. I was so disappointed (and just a little frustrated), because it had been my idea in the first place, conceived when I determined that I needed to get my bike out of my living room.
I was thrilled to receive Margie’s call today, because I finally get my spot in the bike room, after almost two years. It was just a small event that made my day.