Yes .. You may have already read this post but I have retitled it to .. A CHRISTMAS STORY .. because truly that is what it is!
Today’s Rhetorical Question: When is it going to get easy?
I have now lived in the Hong Kong area for the better part of one full year. Based upon my personal experience I have the following ..
ATTITUDE AND OPINION ..
Chinese Business firms are principally two things:
1. Polite, courteous and formal and .. ALL BUSINESS.
2. THE FINANCIAL BOTTOM LINE is what counts.
City Loft is a large management firm that rents and services several hundred small apartments such as mine. Our friend Gullible stayed in it for a few days and refers to it as being about the size of a ‘postage stamp’.
Monthly for 12 consecutive months I have received a notice from City Loft that my rent was due with an option to extend my lease for an additional month following the month for which I was paying rent. In late November I formally advised City Loft that I would be terminating my lease agreement and that I would NOT be renewing my rent for the month of January 2016.
The stage is now set. I will be moving out of my apartment this upcoming Thursday the 31st of December 2015.
Below is the sight that usually greets me when I walk into my building at 23 Mercer Street here in Sheung Wan just West of Hong Kong Central. A plain and simple lobby with the elevator directly ahead of me.
Last Tuesday in the late morning of the 22nd when I went back to our studio apartment I was NOT greeted by the above scene. Instead I was greeted by the belowvery ominous sight as I stepped into the lobby of our building.“Oh Good Grief!” .. I thought to myself as I viewed the above and the below scene(s) .. “I am going to have to walk up the stairs to the 9th floor.”
No! This was not a 100% entirely new experience. Last month we had a bad elevator-service-month during which time the elevator was out-of-service several times.
En route up the stairs I stopped and I called Patti on my cell phone and told her ‘the news’. She squeeled a squeel of sympathy and was waiting for me when I got to the 9th floor to welcome me home.
I called my ‘landlord’ City Loft and I asked them if they knew the elevator was out-of-service again (GR-R-R-R). As they have always answered when I have called about the elevator they politely told me that they do not own the building ..
They told me that they would call the building’s management and that they would call me back when they had information about the elevator’s operational status.
I said to Patti .. “Sure they will and it will be the Same ‘Ol Same ‘Ol ..”
Five hours later about their closing time last Tuesday the 22nd City Loft called me back and said that the elevator would be out-of-service ..
For .. several .. days!
Patti blanched and looked a tad ‘pale of face’ and said .. “Cap it is the heart of the Christmas Holiday. They are NOT going to have the elevator fixed before Christmas!”
Ladies and Gentlemen .. Girls and Boys .. All Sports Fans reading along here with me be advised that ..
Maybe .. IF there was a fire and her very life depended upon it .. Patti could navigate one hundred and sixty (160) steps. Maybe ..
I myself am in pretty good physical condition and it is a push for ME to walk up the one hundred and sixty steps!
So all day Wednesday and all day Thursday (Christmas Eve Day the 24th of December) Patti stayed in our small apartment. I limited myself to one trip down and one trip up the stairs.
Here go go Loop Di Loop .. Here we go Loop De Li ..
When I came into the lobby on Christmas Eve about 6pm our building guard handed me the phone and said that City Loft was on the phone.
“Sir the elevator will be out-of-service until .. The End Of The Month December 31st!
I gulped. I said nothing. I thought quietly to myself ..
1. Patti will be confined to the apartment until we leave for the airport next Thursday the 31st. She will miss all of the Christmas Day celebrations we have been invited to attend including a full course Christmas Dinner.
2. We will have to haul all of our luggage down the stairs next Thursday when we leave for the airport..
“Sir are you there Sir?” .. “Yes I am.” .. “Sir we will call you back in a few minutes. Please wait for our call Sir.” .. “I will.” ..
I began the climb up the (NOT 159 steps .. NOT 161 steps.. ) the one hundred and sixty steps (24 steps to the 1st floor and 17 steps each up to the 9th floor .. Count them .. 160 .. I have counted them each time up and each time down!).
CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY THIS YEAR!
SANTA CLAUS? OH COME ON!
LORD GOD OF ABRAHAM WHY ME?
WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO DESERVE THIS?
I had just walked into our studio apartment with Patti as my cell phone rang. It was Rima from City Loft.
I can read minds. I knew what was coming. Trust Me on this. Below is what I was going to hear:
Cool , calculating, all business, Chinese firm City Loft who probably do not celebrate Christmas and who are looking only at the financial bottom line. Sir City Loft does not own the building so the elevator is an outside issue for City Loft do you understand? Oh by-the-way you are leaving us soon. Have a Merry Christmas Sir good night!
I answered my cell phone.
“This is Rima from City Loft. We have a vacant apartment on the 1st floor. IF you can get your belongings into suitcases we will move you down to the 1st floor tomorrow between 12 noon and 1pm tomorrow.”
GULP .. “What did you just say Rima?”
“We have a vacant apartment on the 1st floor. IF you can get your belongings into suitcases we will move you and your wife down to the 1st floor tomorrow between 12 noon and 1pm tomorrow.”
GULP .. “Rima tomorrow is Christmas Day! It is a major two-day Holiday here in Hong Kong. You will do this on Christmas Day Rima? I am leaving City Loft as a tenant next Thursday and you are going to bring in a crew on Christmas Day to do this for us?”
“Yes BUT .. You must be out by January 2nd because a new tenant is moving in then.”
I felt like weeping tears of unbounded joy. Felt? I feel right now like weeping tears of joy at what City Loft did for Patti and myself.
We were ready for them early on Christmas Day. City Loft was on time arriving at 12.30pm which is between noon and 1pm. The City Loft crew? One young man named Bong who moved like Santa delivering presents. Bong was In and Bong was Out. Four (to me) very heavy suitcases down 136 steps to the 1st floor. Bong did it like I do it. Carry two suitcases down one landing. Then back up for the other two suitcases. It’s a DONE DEAL.
As I write this I still can NOT fathom what happened here. This act of kindness and concern and generosity cost City Loft money. First City Loft moved us on Christmas Day at some expense to them. Second City Loft will now have to again prep the apartment we are temporarily in because a new tenant will need fresh bedding etc again at some expense to them. Why did they do this? I am leaving them. I am stunned! I ponder IF I was the City Loft CEO would I myself have done this for a tenant when it would cost me money out-of-pocket.
Today’s Second Rhetorical Question: Why Me Oh God Of Abraham What Have I Done To Deserve This?
Patti can navigate 24 steps. We were a tad late for our 1pm Christmas Day meeting arriving at 1.30pm BUT were early for Christmas Dinner at 2pm.
Oh Yes .. I hear you all!!
“There is NO Santa Claus!!”
“Really? Well Patti and I sure experienced Santa Claus on Christmas Day 2015.”
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is Thank You it will be enough! MEISTER ECKHART
OH GOD OF ABRAHAM
For your gift
To The World
Of your Son
Jesus of Nazareth
Lord and Savior
He is Risen
This we believe
Help our Unbeliefs
Strengthen Our Faith
God we Pray
We Love You God
This IS Our Doxology
Cap and Patti ..
- DEC 17, 15 .. A NICE WALK IN HONG KONG CENTRAL ..
- DEC 30, 15 .. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 ..