Saturday, January 14, 2006

Landlord/Tenant Relations Update

For all of you following the strange, troubled saga taking place between myself and everybody’s favorite tenant, Guildenstern, here is where matters presently stand: I now have an unequivocal letter from him stating his intention to quit the apartment at the end of the month — plus he has pledged to cooperate with me in my effort to shield poor, honest Rosencranz from this mess. You know, I can really be a soft-hearted sap. Some may argue that it would be to my benefit to bring them both to court, and this gambit to leave Rosencranz out of all of this may necessitate my going through the whole process a second time. But I'm willing to give it a try, and so is Guildenstern.

I went to the Edward R. Brooke Courthouse in Boston last Thursday morning to take advantage of the “Lawyers of the Day” project, a volunteer program the legal community has set up enabling anyone to get free advice on specific matters. On the 5th floor, in front of Courtroom 15, there was a table set up just for landlords. I spoke to a young lawyer named Ed, who wore a dark, pinstripe suit and a ponytail and who carried a soft-leather briefcase with a sticker on it that read, “Justice Works.” I briefly explained the story of my conflict with Guildenstern and expressed my desire to protect Rosencranz. He told me that, so long as Rosencranz was willing to give me his new address should the clerk magistrate rule his presence necessary and a second hearing needed to be arranged, then he saw no problem with my plan of only bringing Guildenstern to court.

I think I’ve mentioned before that Rosencranz is the quiet, unobtrusive type. If you strike up a conversation with him and take an interest in his history or job, he’ll give you very thorough answers to all you ask with the honesty and openness of a child. It is then when he can become quite voluble. There is absolutely no guile in him — and I can’t begin to explain how refreshing I find that. He represents the obverse side of the coin which he shares with his roommate, Guildenstern, who, in the latter’s case, strikes you as worldly-wise, articulate, friendly to a point, but not unafraid to offend you if such an offense may lead to personal gain. One is simple and prefers to see things as either right or wrong, fair or unfair, black or white. The other knows perfectly well what is black and what is white, but can exist comfortably in the grey areas in between.

I tried calling Rosencranz from the courthouse hoping to reach him so I could file the paperwork right then and there, but could only leave a voice mail. He didn’t return my call until 3:00 that afternoon, long after I left the courthouse and returned to work. I explained to him what I was prepared to do to keep him out of this action. Filing the claim against only Guildenstern would cost me $40 and I would need to take a vacation day to have my day in court. Having to do it again would cost another $40 and another vacation day, but, for Rosencranz’s benefit, I told him I’d take the chance.

Nevertheless, Rosencranz became distraught over this news. He just couldn’t understand why, if he’s done everything right, if he’s made no trouble and faithfully paid his share of the rent, should he even run the risk of being involved at all? I advised him to ask this question to his friend. I told Rosencranz that, as much as I liked him, I couldn’t just let $1,800 go for his sake (that’s how much Guildenstern owes me). Sometimes during the conversation there were long gaps of silence, when I ran out of things to say and Rosencranz pondered the potential ramifications of being found delinquent by association in paying his rent. At one point, he declared he would find his own place and to hell with Guildenstern. I didn’t know what to say to that.

That night Guildenstern called me after he came home to the apartment to find Rosencranz waiting for him; Rosencranz instantly unburdened to Guildenstern everything in his troubled heart. Over the telephone, Guildenstern and I confined ourselves strictly to talking about what we could do to keep Rosencranz out of the courtroom; there was no discussion at all about Guildenstern’s side of the case or mine. The conversation was very amicable, as most of our conversations tend to be. For some reason, I don’t bear a lot of ill will toward Guildenstern. Perhaps this might point to a defect in my character, but I don’t think there is anyone I’ve ever met whom I can say I hate or am willing to brand as “evil.” My grudges never seem to last very long. When I have a dispute with someone, I think I make a far greater effort to see the other’s point of view than does my antagonist try to see mine. My wife thinks I’m too trusting and innocent and easy prey for the unscrupulous types she sees all around us; she thinks I am blind to the innumerable hidden agendas and ulterior motives we all need to be wary of. My opinion of myself doesn’t quite match that, as I think my eyes are a bit more open than she gives me credit for, but I will say I’m more in the habit of finding the good in people than the bad; if I’m ever cynical, it’s usually about my fortune or my prospects and not so often my fellow man.

In the end, Guildenstern agreed to write a letter which would, in simple terms, say that everything about the suit I’m bringing against him is all his doing — Rosencranz is completely blameless. I said that sounded good, and yesterday I filed my claim in housing court. And that’s where we are right now.


Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

Once, we lived in caves, and took meat from someone who wanted to share the shelter, and beat the hell out of anyone who pushed their luck.

Now, we're much more civilised. :)

6:30 PM  
Anonymous LL said...

"Now, we're much more civilised. :)"

Like astronauts.

"but I don’t think there is anyone I’ve ever met whom I... am willing to brand as “evil.” "

I take it you've never met PinTA...

8:05 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Once, we lived in caves, and took meat from someone who wanted to share the shelter, and beat the hell out of anyone who pushed their luck."

How many brontosaurus burgers do think our apartment is worth?

"I take it you've never met PinTA..."

Nypinta? Evil? Never!

8:27 PM  
Blogger boo said...

good. sounds like things are moving in the right direction.

wv: zexln (excellent?)

6:27 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"wv: zexln (excellent?)"

I think zexln is something you shouldn't take and then operate heavy machinery.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous LL said...

"Nypinta? Evil? Never!"

I think you need to borrow some sheep shears. Seems there's wool over your eyes, now who pulled it there I can only guess... ;P

9:26 AM  
Blogger Farrago said...

I still say you should hold out for your 15 minutes of fame on "Judge Judy." I could just see it now, Schprock in his best suit, all spiffy and clean, with all his papers on his lectern, all in order. Guildenstern at the defendant's lectern, hair greazed back, a little pony tail hanging down, his goatee trimmed neatly, yet unable to conceal his sleaze, and his tight, black club shirt with his attept to spiff it up by adorning it with a string tie. And, of course, on the table top is Guildenstern's overwhelming evidence against Schprock, a sheet of paper with a note in ambiguous scrawl that reads, "Mr. Guildenstern don't got to pay Shprock 1800$ for all the bad thing he done." Signed Mr. Shpork.

Hmmm. Maybe I've seen a few "Judge Judy" too many....

8:20 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Signed Mr. Shpork"

Farrago, you crack me up. Of course, what will happen is, I'll wind up doing a Lionel Hutz imitation (from the Simpsons):

Hutz: I move for a bad court thingy.

Judge: You mean a mistrial.

Hutz: Right!! That's why you're the judge and I'm the law-talking guy.

Judge: You mean the lawyer?

Hutz: Right.

5:12 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

And then Judge Judy can say something like, "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!" Then she'll instruct her bailiff to drag him from the view of the cameras and beat him viciously until he coughs up your money.

11:40 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

That's the kind of frontier justice we need more of!

11:48 AM  
Blogger Farrago said...

I please to aim.

(Sorry, Trina's "pee on my leg" comment threw me.)

5:44 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

And it becomes apparent that Trina has seen at least one more "Judge Judy" than I have!!

5:48 PM  
Blogger Chloe said...

You've got a heart of gold, Mr. Schprock! This post reminded me of my favorite Japanese proverb: He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I'm with you, Mr. Schprock, trying to see the good in people first. Of course, if I find out that I was gullible and some person ends up treating me badly, I find it very hard to trust them ever again. I might pretend, but I will always remember the time I was duped.

4:02 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"And it becomes apparent that Trina has seen at least one more 'Judge Judy' than I have!!"

We need Judge Trina!

"He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger."

Who said that? Ichiro?

Ha ha! Just being silly! That's a great line and makes a lot of sense.

Kathleen, everything you said is true of me. I have an old friend who "done me wrong.' I don't hate him, I even forgive him, but I'll never trust him again . . . ever.

5:19 AM  

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