Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All that Glitters

It requires a certain amount of wealth to live in Manhattan. It requires an even greater amount of wealth to live in a non-dilapidated Manhattan apartment without several random strangers for roommates. Not kidding, I saw a listing for a studio in Murray Hill that was TWELVE x TWELVE FEET going for $1,500/month. Absolutely unbelievable. Despite the frustrating and outrageous financial requirements of city living (I'm trying to move right now, don't even think about asking me how it's going), you'll generally see people from all sorts of backgrounds in most Manhattan neighborhoods. The exception to this rule is the Upper East Side. No matter how many times I go, I'm always shocked at the homogeneity of Madison avenue in the 60s and 70s. People on the street are clearly very, very wealthy. It's like falling down a rabbit hole and coming out the other side where life is just one big Ralph Lauren photo shoot.
Look Dina, have you ever seen so many colorful polo shirts? Madison Avenue keeps getting curiouser and curiouser!
Imagine this, but only the men are a lot older and less attractive
Economic class does not seem to matter much in regard to my encounters with people during mold inspections. Residents tend to be either friendly, slightly to moderately hysterical, weird/awkward, or indifferent. Sure some groups of people are a bit more demanding than others, although usually people treat me well enough. At least I'm treated as a fellow human being. This was not the case during a recent inspection of an Upper East Side apartment. The resident's behavior was appalling. She could not have been a more perfect stereotype of the ├╝ber wealthy — an entitled asshat lacking even the smallest ounce of empathy and believing she is better than everyone else (for a formal dictionary definition, look up 'Mitt Romney').
This statement was never more applicable
You know the phrase "money can't buy you class"? We all know some people who seem to have missed that memo. This woman was certainly one of those people. I rarely see an apartment so ostentatiously decorated. It brought new meaning to the word "gaudy". The dining room and living room were cluttered with stuffy, wannabe Louis XVI-inspired furniture.There was a "very expensive" carpet on the floor that my notebook was not allowed to touch (the notebook never did touch the carpet, although she had to move my notepad when I set it down a mere few inches away). Do not get me started on the art. A window sill was home to a hideous colorful glass sculpture that I think (?) was supposed to be some sort of abstract person.
The sculpture rivaled the taste level of this masterpiece
I was hired to inspect her dining room, stairwell, and bedroom. To put things into perspective, to travel to the master bedroom, you must walk up the stairs from the dining room, and boom, you're there. Aka all three rooms are directly connected. The resident was so awkward and cold. She told the maid, who was cleaning the master bathroom upon my arrival, to watch me while I work. This was no big deal in the master bedroom because she could still do her thing while I did mine. The resident then insisted that the cleaning lady accompany me the five feet from the bedroom to the stairwell so that I was not left without direct supervision. You know, because otherwise I wouldn't be keep my grubby poor person fingers off the clown sculpture. 

At one point I asked the cleaning lady for a step ladder so that I could take moisture readings on the ceiling. Out of nowhere the resident burst into the stairwell saying, "What do you need? Don't ask her, she doesn't know anything". Umm, whoa. Poor woman, I can't believe she has to take that shit on the reg. Apparently the maid did know something because guess who fetched me the step ladder?
At one point the resident needed to walk past me. Instead of saying, "excuse me", I received a "Can you move". It was a statement, not a question. My response above.
To top everything off, at the end of my inspection I was unable to moisture test the dining room walls. Why?, you may ask. Excellent question! Metallic substances give moisture meters a false positive reading, making a surface appear saturated. I could tell immediately that there was some sort of metal finish on her walls. They had an unusual appearance and as expected, my moisture meter told me the walls were "saturated". I asked her if the walls were copper plated. Oh no, that's the poor man's metal! Her walls were made with gold. *Pause* ...Of course they were. Let's take a second to let this sink in — the resident was so rich that she could afford to coat her walls with gold

And here's me trying to decide whether to spend my money this week on food or student loans... *Le sigh*
Wonder if she's married to King Midas...
Photo credits: Alice in Wonderland, Ralph Lauren, someecards.com, Festival of Balloons, Mad Men, Disney: 'The Golden Touch'

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