Attention to Detail

December 21, 2006

As a software developer, one who focuses (or can when he chooses) on minutia, I am often acutely aware that most people do not notice details. Which is a shame, as the little things in life are the ones that are worth noticing. Big things in life are just conglomerations of little things.

The lease I have with my landlord requires 24 hours notice before entry in to my apartment. I have to allow them access as needed, but they have to inform me ahead of time so I can tidy up, or hide contraband, or whatever. A seemingly small detail, but as it turns out an important one.

Upon arriving home from work yesterday my place felt a bit off. At first I didn't register what was out of place and then I noticed clumps of lint or fuzz on the carpet. A trail of the stuff leading from the kitchen to the front door. Almost footsteps in the pattern.

'Oh shit,' I've been robbed again was my initial thought. Only nothing was out of place or missing. I was ready to grab the phone and call 9-1-1, which is when I noticed the message waiting light was flashing. The message, as it turns out, was from the apartment management informing me that they would be entering the apartment during the day to clean the clothes dryer vent. This explained the source of the lint trail, but did little to assuage my growing anger.

You'd think that after the way I carried on about the robbery they would have made certain that any intrusion into my apartment would be handled delicately, carefully, by-the-book, or lease as the case maybe. You'd be wrong.

I called the office and asked if they'd been in my apartment that day.

"Oh yes! We had the service people here today blowing out all the dryer vents ..."

"And aren't you suppose to give my 24 hours notice before entering my apartment?"

"Well we didn't know he was going to be here until today."

"You decide to clean a couple of hundred dryer vents on the spur of the moment?"

"No..."

"Then you could have given me notice."

"I'm sorry sir. but ..."

"When will you be back to clean up the mess your vent guy left on my carpet?"

" ... "

"There's a trail of lint and fuzz clear across the floor. When will you be here to clean that up?"

"Right away sir."

They did come and clean up the mess the service people left behind. And they were very apologetic. I stopped by the office to give them (again) my cell phone number and ask that it be used to notify me of all future entries into my domicile. I may not get prior notice, but at least I'll get a message before I get home to warn me that little gnomes have been mucking with my stuff.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.