Life in KoreaTown

Well, it’s been a helluva week with our building flooded here in KoreaTown. We didn’t know what was going on when we heard people dashing through the halls at 2 am, knocking on doors and yelling unintelligible things. The dogs barked a bit and we went back to sleep.

As I left to work on Thursday morning around 7 am, I noticed a “gaggle” of fire trucks, EMVs and  an abundance of emergency personnel converging on our building. I also noticed the Channel 9 news van and a couple media groups setting up for broadcast. I couldn’t imagine anything that could bring  them here…other than me, of course.

By 10 am or so, Karin texted me a photo of a trash can floating into our laundry room from the basement hallway. I did a double take and realized the basement was flooded. At lunch, Karin called and explained a pipe broke under the building, flooding the basement, the garage and the laundry room. A couple cars were trapped, but the were retrieved without incident. I watched my neighbors’ interviews on the news. They seemed upbeat.

Goodbye to our friend, Gilbert 🙁

What saddened me the most was the property lost by our manager and protectorate, Gilbert Tang. He lost everything he stored in the basement including personal documents.  Karin and I were nearly as devastated as he. Gilbert is a great guy who takes care of the tenants, the building and is always there for us.

Unfortunately, Gilbert became sick while cleaning the mold from the water damage. He sounded and looked awful. This, apparently was the last straw as he has since taken medical leave from the building.

It has been a week since Gilbert left and I miss him a great deal. Sometimes when we walked the dogs, he would throw treats from the window. I always look up to his window in case he has come back and expect “treats from heaven” as Karin and I call them.
But of course, he is not back and I don’t blame him if he never comes back. His job overworked him and his body was breaking into pieces. He worked with us when we were late with rent and was always there when someone had an emergency. He was like a father figure to the young ladies in the building, watching over us all from his third story apartment, chatting with cops, chasing away bums and sinister Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I went to court with him and other tenants when the building company was being sued by a psychotic tenant  named “Mr. Vermin”. This guy would smoke meth, invite guys to his apartment and have hot, kinky sex. Things got out of hand, of course and neighbors were “affected” by the destructive behavior, complained and Mr. Vermin and his sex show of speed were evicted. Vermin sued and I gladly agreed to show up for Gilbert and the building company who worked with us during those dark times.

Gilbert was an honored US Army service member and police officer. The man deserved better. He had such a kind heart that his job kept him prisoner until he could no longer physically do the job…and it cost him all his personal belongings.

Thank you, Gilbert for your kindness in a cruel city. We will never forget you and you are always welcomed in our home and will always be in our hearts. Be safe, my brother.

Here’s an awesome interview of our neighbors, Lois and Nicholas.

Electricity was the first utility to come back. After a few hours, the toilet started to smell from the use and kept praying for the water to flush. Eventually it did and only had minor inconvenienced.

The car owners and Gilbert suffered the most. After living with these great people for so long, I hurt when they hurt. It was not fair. But these disasters bring people together. They give us a cohesiveness and bonding. We here in this building we can count on each other.

Afterwords, we had a “Disaster Party”. Karin couldn’t make it, as she was exhausted from climbing the stairs after the elevator went down. Experiences like these bring us together. We had many friends before the flooding. We had many more afterwords.

The Solution: Planning

We live in a capitalist nation. Having said that, we follow the maxim, “Don’t fix it until it breaks. “But the building is 90 years old.” is the usual reply.
“Exactly.” I replied back. “Ten or even 5 years ago would have been an ideal time to replace the pipe, saving on upcoming lawsuits…and they had to replace the pipe anyway.”

The computer I type this on is going on 7 years old. Despite the splendid craftsmanship of the PC (like the building and it’s plumbing) I know from experience that I must plan on REPLACING this computer…or 90 year old water main.

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