Years ago my father in law was aghast at having run into an old acquaintance who he felt hadn’t aged well.
“He turned up old!” he exclaimed.
Well, today it’s official. My husband and I have turned up old.
I blame the apartment.
For most of our lives the arrival of visitors has been heralded by barking dogs, the sound of a vehicle, footsteps on the deck and knocking on the door. Oh how I miss those days.
The arrival of apartment visitors lead to an entirely different sequence of events.
Our apartment has an intercom featuring an abundance of buttons for various purposes, along with a miniature TV screen allowing us to see the visitor without them seeing us back. It has been almost two years and the sound of the intercom ringing still kicks off the same sad series of events; give or take a few ingredients.
Take last night for instance.
Cue the intercom.
“What’s that noise?”
“I don’t know. Is it your phone?”
“No, is it yours?”
“Wait. I think it might be the intercom.”
“Who could it be?”
“I don’t know.”
Cautiously we approach the dining room wall with the intercom on it and peer at the screen. An unfamiliar man is holding a large package and looking impatient.
“Do you know who it is?”
“No, do you?”
“Press the talk button.”
“Which one is the talk button again?”
“That one. The one with the picture of a person talking.”
“Hello? Hello? It looks like he’s talking but I can’t hear him.”
“You have to take your finger off the talk button so he can talk.”
“Is that how it works?”
“Pizza! We didn’t order pizza.”
“He doesn’t look like he hears you.”
“We didn’t order pizza.”
“You have to press the button when you talk.”
“We didn’t order pizza.”
“Let go! Take your finger off so he can answer.”
“I don’t think you need to.”
“Can you hear me?”
“Food! Did you order any food?”
The unidentified man is now looking beyond impatient and we are practically wringing our hands.
“Tell him no!”
“Press that button.”
“Well, what does this one do?”
“I don’t know, but don’t press the one with the key on it or you’ll accidentally let him in!”
“Calm down. It’s a pizza delivery guy, not a rabid dog. It might be simpler if we just buzzed him in and explained when he got up here.”
In the mini TV screen we watch the man flail one arm about his head in frustration, the other holding what is presumably a box of pizza. He turns towards the main door, violently pushes it open and leaves.
“Well, at least he’s gone. You can stop pressing the button now.”
And then it hits me.
“Oh my god. Would you look at us? Do you know what this means?”
“Yeah. Someone in the other apartment with the same number as ours probably ordered pizza.”
“No. We’ve been here two years and it just took both of us to run the intercom and we still couldn’t do it. We’ve turned up old.”
“You know what’s even worse?”
“Now I feel like pizza.”