seems that my back has been appointed Albanian Complaint Department. yet another complaint was lodged there, this time on the #12 Bronx bus, full of aromas and noses from all countries. i was seated and reading a book (one of those pink affairs with half naked men on the cover i confess), when:
“i am fed up with that apartment. the area is good but it is falling down in pieces djy know. the super knows how to fix nothing. he don’t do nothing. he don’t know nothing. hell, he don’t even speak english. you go there, you complain and he shakes his head and do nothing. he’s Albanian. yeah an effin Albanian”
that of course, caused my antena to rise. the voice was this terrible loud drawl that must surely have come from one of the Bronx stereotypes, the tank top, tan, and made to the nines 40 sth year old woman. and she went on and on for about 6 stops:
“the guy who done all repairs fell sick and is not doing nothing djy know. the super just stands there and mops and cleans. all he does is mops and cleans. so we’re holding back as many rents we can. waiting for an eviction notice. ye ye… but he speaks no English man. only Albanian. and he has these three sons living with him. the oldest one is my age, djy know. what’s they doing living with their father? something weird is going on there i’me telling you. but they’s keeping him on djy know. why they got an Albanian super there for? ye, couldn’t stay in the apartment. there was nothing on cable so i took a bus ride. i’m getting off in Fordam, man, chill. don’t you dare hang up on me, i said…”
the trail of her monologue hung in the air several minutes after she had left. short squat crazy, she was nevertheless right in several levels.
a lot of Albanian men are superintendends in the Bronx. and they do not know English or superintendenting. they know how to fix something here and there, and their wives clean the whole day long. their children of course have to live with them until they are married off and sometimes even after they are married off. their world does not much mix with that of the residents of the building they serve. and the key word is serve. many Albanians take on two and three other jobs because they do not get paid for the super job or get very little money for it. and free apartments of course. they do not see why they have to answer the crazy demands of the loud inhabitants. if these inhabitants happen to be Albanian too the situation is even worse. Albanians do not complain to or about Albanians. yes the sink leaks, the toilet does not flush, the bathtub is blocked and that stinkin super never showed up to fix it. but they can’t be the cause of losing the man’s job. what will the other Albanians say?
there is a lot of diligent supers as well, who do their job very well and get respect from their inhabitants. their whole family works to keep the building in shape, the wife usually dealing with the residents, the husband fixing corners and the kids helping with cleaning and recycling. but they are overshadowed and sometimes evein vilified by crazy and unresponsible supers.
anyway, i was mostly caught by surprise at a second revelation of another Albanian stereotype. yes, there are a lot of other Albanians in a lot of other professions, Medical and Finance being two fastest growing fields, but yet, we are known by our Superintendents and Wise Guys. As long as one starts to discuss their super and says, “he is Albanian, djy know,” there is no more field for discussion. enough said. ever. i must stop now. really. nothing more to say. i am serious. done for. bye-bye
if you are still reading, you must be an Albanian super as well.