I know. It sounds like the start of a borsch-belt joke. Or they should be singing. But there really were these 3 tenants: a middle-aged white woman, a middle-aged black man, and a divorced guy and his son. They all lived on The Mountain, as we dubbed a complex with an 8-apartment building and 2 houses.
Recently, bags of garbage began appearing on the porch of the apartment building. That was weird on a couple of levels, because the dumpster was on the way to the parking lot, and people there were usually pretty respectful of each other. So why would someone drop his funky trash where everyone else would have to step over it and smell it? We picked up the first bag. We picked up the second bag. By the third bag, we were getting pretty ticked off.
We started asking around. The white woman told me that she saw the black man doing it. OK, I thought, that seems out of character, but by now I have a whole bunch of weird tenant experiences. I wrote him the usual “landlord” letter, it has to stop, could be grounds for eviction, etc., blah, etc. And one very angry black man appeared at my office door, barely containing himself.
He asked me straight out: “Look at me! Do you think I am the kind of person who would do such a thing?”
"Well, actually, no. That’s why I was so confused. But another tenant said you did, and she saw it."
I didn’t dare identify the tenant. They still had to live near each other.
No, he said. The son of the guy in the house does it. He’s too lazy to walk to the dumpster, so when his father sends him to throw the garbage, he drops it on the nearest porch.
Now that made perfect sense. I apologized profusely. Should’ve known better, trusted my own gut, and verified before accusing.
So there were these 3 tenants, and 1 landlord who didn’t think before she inserted her foot in her mouth…