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[4 | The Lobby] Download or Read PDF
August 4th, 2016
“Hi. Can I help you?” “Yes, I am moving in today, just bought unit 6140.” “Oh, yes. You must be James, or should I call you, Jim?” “Sure am. Feel free to call me J.F. or James or James Francis or Dr. Q or Jim or whatever you like. I’m not sure how I got so many names, but it happened.” “Which do you prefer?” “Oh, I suppose J.F. is fine. Easy to recollect for most.” “Well – alright then, J.F., let’s get you settled in.” “I am Lena. I manage tower two, which is this building—the Mifflin St. building.” “Nice to make your acquaintance. I think you have the keys for me, correct?” “Sure do, and some paperwork for you to fill out. Follow me to my office.”
J.F. follows the young lady to her office located within the lobby. On the short trip from the vestibule across the room, he inspects the surroundings, wondering who could have been responsible for the décor. He contemplates to himself, (For what is supposed to be a modern building, this lobby sure looks like it is from the ’30s. Why would anyone choose these Victorian-style chairs and matching console tables? And, the paint–the paint looks like someone purposely matched the color of the vomit from the exorcist movie. I don’t know. It is sort of nostalgic—I guess. Kind of reminds me of a place I cannot remember.) “Please have a seat, If you will, Mr. J.F.”
J.F. sits down on the opposite side of the desk from the young girl. He thinks she looks to be about 26—a good age match for him. He watches her body as she maneuvers about the desk. She shifts papers around and organizes while maintaining feminine attributes. Her mannerisms entice his physical attraction, even though, at first look, she is not all that attractive to him.
J.F. asks while she sifts through files, “How long have you been working here for?” “Oh – I started back in 2016 just after I finished college. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but it’s easy-going and pays the bills. I love all the people here too. Where are you coming from?” “Dallas.” “Are you from Texas?” “Actually, I grew up in Wisconsin – Janesville—that is.” “What brings you back?” “Got me a postdoc job over there at the university.” “Great place to live. You don’t even need a car with everything so close.” “I suppose so.” “Alright, so here is the addendum for renting and Airbnb. Pretty much the only thing anyone on the board cares about. I am sure you were told before you bought that there is no renting or Airbnb’s.” “No, not really. But I don’t think that will be an issue. It’s just me, and I’ll likely be here for a decade or so while doing my research. The only thing that would shift me is if I somehow get roped into marriage—doubt that’ll happen anytime soon.” “Alright, then. Well, just keep in mind that you can rent, but only for a year, and you have to show proof that you are moving back in afterward. Also, the tenants are approved by the board, so you cannot handle any applications. We will handle them for you.” “Fair enough then.” “That’s really the only concern. You can read through all the other condo rules and everything when you like. They don’t require signatures.” “Sounds good.” “Okay. Here are your keys, one is for the mailbox, one is for your storage unit, and the other is for your unit. It has 6140 engraved on it, and the unengraved key is for storage—small ones for mail. You need me to show you around?” “Nah. That’s fine. I like to explore things on my own. I’ll figure it out.”
J.F. gathers his paperwork and keys and heads off. Before he is out of view of Lena, he takes a last glance at her breasts, which are tucked tightly into a brassiere designed to accentuate the cleavage. He then makes his way through the lobby to the elevators.
While J.F. stands staring aimlessly at the elevator doors, he hears Lena say from a few feet away, “Oh, hey – James.” He breaks from a locked-in gaze with the elevator doors. He turns and sees Lena walking up to him. She puts her hand out to him, and hands him what looks like a credit card. “I almost forgot your key for the service elevator and building entrance. The single elevator on your right requires it to enter the lobby or go to any floor. If you go in it without the key, you’ll only be able to exit the building out the trash room.” “That will come in handy.” “Yes. Sorry about that.” “No problem. I am sure I will forget it anyway.” “If you do, you can call yourself on the intercom and unlock the door from your cell phone. Just hit the number 9 button, and it unlocks the door.” “Ah. Very good to know.”
Lena turns and walks back to her office through the lobby. J.F. cannot help but take a long hard look at her backend wrapped up tightly in a skirt, just barely reaching her knees. She takes a quick glance back at J.F. just to see if he is watching her. He anticipates this, so he quickly turns his head around to face the elevator doors, hoping she doesn’t catch him eyeballing her backend. At the same time, the elevator dings. This leaves her unsure if he had been looking and turned his head or hadn’t been looking and was simply staring at the elevator dial.
“Lobby,” says the elevator recording. When J.F. hears the recorded female voice, it sounds—to him—almost as if it is intentionally meant to sound erotic. The recording is quickly followed by “Going up.”, which doesn’t make sense to him since the doors had only just started opening.
The elevator doors slide open, and an older man with a professional-grade camera hanging from his neck comes out. “Hello and welcome to The Lobby.” Says J.F. in a joking way as if he were a bellboy on staff at a fancy hotel. A comedic gesture that always gets a laugh or at least a grin. But this man walked out the elevator and into the lobby as if J.F. was not even there. (Weird. Must be one of them old fellas that haven’t any time for anyone, or something.) J.F. watches the man walk away, through the lobby and out of the building. He stares at the back of his head, wondering what would turn a man so rude as to not even say hello to a neighbor.
J.F. sees the elevator doors are about to shut, so he says out loud, “Hold up. Wait – for – me – elevator.”, and slips himself in sideways just before they can completely close. He pretends he is Indian Jones sliding under a giant cement door, which is about to slam down.
When he gets into the elevator, he notices the buttons are numbered a bit strange as if intentionally labeled to be out of order. They read from right to left and down to up.
He pushes the sixth-floor button, and the female voice again says, with a provocative tone. “Going up.” He thinks to himself, (Who did they find to do the recording for this thing. Sounds like Elizabeth Hurley, but without the accent.)
When the elevator doors slide open, two girls are standing in front of them waiting to enter. J.F. sees the girls and says jokingly, “I made it! Thanks for waiting for me.”, to which they giggle, understanding the humor the previous owner did or did not.
“Pardon me, ladies. You must be my new neighbors?” The two of them smile and say, “Yeah. Are you moving in?” “Yep, sixty-one forty.” They then both respond simultaneously like trained twins, “Oh, cool.” One then says, “We are right down the hall.” And the other says, “We’ll probably see you around.” They both give a friendly smile, smiles J.F. interprets as intentionally flirtatious. He then says, “Nice to meet you two Ladies.” as they maneuvered around him, entering the elevator while he exits.
The doors close, and J.F. starts to walk away. As he walks away, he can barely hear the girls, but he hears one of them say, “He is cute, don’t you think?” He then thinks to himself while wandering down the hall in the number direction of 6100-6200. (Oh, the young women of the world. They must be 20 or 22 or so. Probably college students. Definitely sisters. They have the same hips and jawbone. Nice looking girls. Wholesome – like they were brought up on milk and family get-togethers. I like that. I wish I could know what it is like to have family ties and comforting feelings like that. They probably haven’t even a worry in the world other than grades and whether or not a boy likes them. Good upbringing. Where the hell is my condo! I have been walking down this hall forever. I must have passed it—not paying attention. Alright, going back. 6100 on the right, 6110 on the left, 6120 on the right, 6130 on the left, 6150 on the. What the hell. Where is 6140? Here is 6150, and there is 6160. Weird. It must be on the other end of the hall then.)
J.F. walks back down the hallway in search of his unit. He passes door after door and light after light. The lights are all attached to the walls and are all planted evenly between each entry. He notices the carpet is the same green color as the lobby, and no windows to be found anywhere. At first, he thought the mirrors may be windows but was then startled. He had seen his reflection thinking it was someone else in the hallway opening their door.
(Here it is. Damn. Weird, it kind of feels like déjà vu. Wonder why this unit is off balance with the other unit’s numbers being tucked right between 6010 and 6030.)
[4.1 | The Lobby]
May 14th, 2018
Just got into town!
Great! How is the new place?
Just about to get the keys.
Cannot believe it
Got this beautiful condo right downtown
By the capitol
Can you afford that?
James ignores the nagging text from his mother and then replies back about a half-hour later.
This place is fantastic.
It is small, but it is really cool.
Easy to take care of.
And guess what?
There is a farmer’s market right down the street
It wraps the entire block.
I guess they call it “The Square”
the state’s capitol’s base or something.
I’ll check it later.
I’ve been there.
I’ll give you a call later
Waiting for my mattress to arrive…
Hopefully it gets here today.
James waits in the lobby of the Metropolitan Place Condominiums. As he waits, he sits in one of the old Victorian-style lounge chairs. He is waiting for some final paperwork before he can get the keys to his condo. While sitting and texting, a trim woman with long black hair scuffles out of the office. She says to him with unexpected enthusiasm, “Welcome to the Metro Place! Here is the information on the H.O.A. fees and here are your keys. The small one is for the mailroom, the gold one is for your storage unit, and the big one is for your condo. I will need your routing numbers just as soon as you can get them to me. And here is your fob to get in and out of the building. You will also need it for the service elevator.”
“What ab-.” James attempts to respond to the lady before going back into her office when an elderly lady interrupts him. A lady who seemingly came out of nowhere.
“Lina, oh, Lina. Can we talk? I just heard something.” The lady then stops talking when she sees the unfamiliar man getting up from the chair.
James stands up and puts his iPhone in his left pocket, making sure to face the glass screen towards his thigh so that if he bumps anything, it won’t shatter. He stands there for a second expecting the lady to apologize for interrupting. Still, she just keeps on talking to Lina. He wonders for a moment what the lady is going to say and then says to Lina, “Thanks.”, and walks away feeling annoyed by the rudeness of the two. Lina then bursts out after sensing the emotion, “Oh, wait, James. Do you want me to show you around?” James raises up his left arm and says without turning back to look at her, “Nope.”, as he makes his way to the elevators.
(Who the hell decorated this. Wasn’t it built like ten years ago?) “Gotta love people with money in small towns.” Said James under his breath while standing in the elevator lobby.
“Laahhh-bee.” says the intensely erotic female voice of the elevator. Just before James walks into the elevator, he turns around and interrupts the two amid their gossip, “Hey! I forgot, where are the packages delivered?” The elderly lady gives him a skewed look. Lina says, “Normally, they are in the room right to the right, over there, but I put everything in your condo for you so it would be ready upon arrival.” “Really? Great! Thank you!” James now feels bad for rudely walking away. Lina then shouts across the lobby to James, saying, “By the way, your unit is out the door to the right of the elevators. It is off numbered with the rest of the hall for some reason.” James nods back to show he understands and then catches the door just before it shuts. When he gets inside, he says, “Ah, the wonders of the cuboid charoites and their low-level flights to the middle of the sky.” He then thinks to himself, (These elevators have an odd resemblance of something designed in the early 1900s. I kind of like them—creepy in a sense.)
James arrives at his condo on the sixth floor, and when he looks at the door, he is surprised to see that the name plate says “Doctor J.F.”, and thinks to himself, (Is this on purpose or from the previous tenant? I am no doctor and I don’t recall them saying anything about monograming the thing. They would have asked me what I wanted right? Eh. Cool, I guess.)
He gets in to see the memory foam mattress he ordered is still rolled up, vacuum sealed, and tucked in a delivery box. He then says with great enthusiasm, “Thank God for Amazon!” But then thinks to himself that the company is convenient but at the same time is probably turning America into a communist country. He immediately remembers that it needs hours to deflate. Before he even looks around the unit, he pulls his new set of keys out, looks for the pointiest one, and uses it to cut through the tape.
The tiny mailbox key has a sharp tip to it. James pushes his index finger to the back of the key, presses it to the package-tape, and scrapes it down the seam. The key quickly gunks up, and his hand jerks away from the box from the applied force breaking his hold on it. This frustrates him. He feels his body heating up and reminds himself to practice patience. He relaxes all his muscles and immediately accesses a meditative state. Then he uses his hands to break the remaining tape by wedging his fingers into the seam he made. He then pulls back the cardboard while wiggling the flaps side-to-side until the tape cracks apart across the whole opening. Finally, he jerks the flaps with great force to break the tape’s connection.
Once the delivery box is open, he finds a second box with an image of a mattress and some writing. He reads, “A good night’s rest is the most important part of the day!” (Isn’t that kind of a contradiction? Most sleep at night, right? So, wouldn’t a good night’s rest be the most important part of the night? I think they crossed the breakfast slogan with this. Probably another country that doesn’t understand English, or maybe I don’t.)
The second box has an even more tightly wrapped taping. But this time, James anticipates the gunk build up and gets the mattress slid out with ease. It comes rolled up in an easy to unroll wrapping designed to let the assembler unroll it and get it into position. He now walks through his new condo to find the best spot for it. He has no other furniture in the place, so he puts it in the living room for the time being.
The unit is small – less than 500 square feet. It is basically a small bedroom, kitchen, living room, overly long hallway, and a bathroom. He wonders why they divided the place up in such a strange arrangement as it does the exact opposite of maximizing space.
James is a recent grad school dropout. His studies were advanced math and theoretical physics. Hence, his brain automatically calculates the best way to arrange the place in order to maximize the space. Equations fly through his head like passing stars in light-speed travel.
“Alright. Well, remodeling will probably be on the menu. But first! Remodeling my brain cells.” (I can get to know the city a little. I think I will break the new place in with a bottle of—hmmm, what seems fitting to the situation? Ah! Yes – scotch, of course. No other drink would be best suited for a new high-rise condominium located in a downtown setting. And yes—yes, indeed, I believe I do have a bottle of scotch tucked away in my backpack.)
James lays out the mattress and watches it sadly puff back up like a squished marshmallow. He knows he needs to kill at least six hours before he can sleep on it, and it also reeks of chemicals, so he opens the windows. He then remembers he ordered a fan as well.
James heads back to the packages tucked up against the wall in the hallway and opens up the one with the fan in it. Once he gets it out and untangles the cord, he carries it over to the small living room area and then positions it on the floor next to the mattress. (Good thing I put the mattress in the living room. There are no windows in the other room.)
After James finishes up with the mattress, he takes a tour of his new place, walking only 5-feet, saying, “Well. That’s it, folks. What did you think?” (It may be small, but that means easy to clean, easy maintenance, and better yet, easier to afford!) Piddle-Paddle-pop-crack – Piddle-Paddle-pop-crack. (What was that? Must be some neighbors or something.)
“Hey Siri, Where is the closest liquor store?”
Here’s what I found-
Riley’s Wines of The World located at 402 W Gorham St, Madison, WI 53703
Badger Liquor Shop
(Excellent. Those are only a few blocks away. They shall be our saving grace on many days to come. Plenty of bars too.)
James gathers up all the cardboard to take down to the recycling room. He uses the service elevator, which requires a key to access it. When he gets in, he looks for the button to take him to the trash room.
James isn’t sure which button is to the trash room. He uses common sense and concludes L is Lobby, so LR must be an abbreviation for the back entrance. It also makes sense because none of the other buttons work unless activated by a magnetic key, whereas the LR button works regardless. He then recalls Lina saying something about only being able to get out of the building using the trash room while he was texting earlier. So, he concludes LR is the way to go.
The elevator’s back door opens, and he hears that sexy voice again say, “Lahhhh-bee,” followed by “Going up.”
James steps out, and the sliding doors close behind him. He then heads over to the recycling area and tosses the cardboard into a big green bin. On his way back, he notices a rocking chair and a cardboard box filled with random items resting up against the cement brick wall. He asks himself, “Are these free for the taking?” just as he reads another piece of cardboard that says, “Free for the taking.” (I guess so. Jinx! Must have seen that in the corner of my eye.) He inspects the chair and sees it has a loose arm but still works, so he sits in it and gives it a rock. (Very nice – just what I needed. What’s in this here box then? Nice, very nice, this is my favorite type of glass, a Collins glass, I believe it’s called. This is a nice little notebook, too, or journal, maybe? Doesn’t look like it has been written in yet—a couple of clothes and a battery. I’ll take the glass and journal. Thank you. Must be kismet.”)
James sits in the rocking chair for a few minutes and opens the journal to see if it has been written in. As far as he can tell, it is blank except for a single writing on the back of the cover page, which reads:
The physical body is nothing more than a prison for the punished soul. J.E.M.
[ 4.2 | The Drink]
Thunk-POP. James yanks the cork from the scotch bottle he had tucked in his backpack and immediately smells the sharp fragrance. The scent makes his mouth water with anticipation. He pours himself a half-finger in his newly found Collins glass and retires to his newly found rocking chair. Along with the drink, he brings the notebook. He sets the drink on the windowsill before taking a sip and then goes back and hunts for a pen. He finds an unused ballpoint pen he had leftover from the previous semester. He returns to the chair, repositions it to see the city, and then takes a small sip of the scotch. He sips it slowly while admiring the blue sky and equally not admiring the surrounding buildings’ architecture. While the alcohol sets in, he thinks to himself, (This is like a brick forest. Not hardly a tree in sight. Man. These buildings are ugly. That one looks like the brick steps from the original Mario game. Who designs a building to look like a giant staircase? What a waste of space. They could literally double the capacity by making it cuboidal symmetric. Maybe they ran out of money; I did read something about many places in downtown Madison running out of money. Perhaps – maybe, this here Journal might be a good sign—that is, now that I am done with grad school, well, at least for now. This way, I can work on my theories without the bureaucracy of college B.S..)
James finishes his first small pour of scotch and then returns to the chair with a pour double the first size. He then opens up the notebook and begins writing about his theories.
a course on deriving unknown theories from unknown universes
What is a hypothesis? What is a theory? What is a law?
Most people incorrectly use the word theory—in conversation—in place of hypothesis—for example, “Theoretically speaking, we are living in The Matrix.”, but this would actually be appropriately stated as “Hypothetically, we are living in The Matrix.” Because one would hypothesize that we are in The Matrix—that is, it would only be a theory if it were proven to be correct to the best of our knowledge. However, someone could provide a valid paper that does, in fact, mathematically prove we are living in the Matrix, then one could say that we are theoretically living in the matrix. A law means it is valid in all aspects, such as The Law of Gravity. Think about the title of a famous paper, ‘The Theory of Relativity.’ It is not ‘The Hypothesis of Relativity’ nor is it ‘The Law of Relativity.’ It is given the title theory because it is valid to the extent that it cannot be disproven; however, it is not a Law because other theories contradict it, and it is not true in all aspects of physics, such as quantum mechanics. This brings us to entanglement; entanglement is a direct contradiction of relativity. In laymen’s terms: Every particle has a twin particle, and its twin reacts instantaneously to any actions brought on to one or the other particle. This means that information is being sent faster than the speed of light—for example, make a phone call to mars and send morse code using an entangled particle on Earth with its twin on mars. When you tap the entangled particle, the twin feels it on mars instantaneously, but the phone call will take approximately 187 seconds (if traveling at the speed of light) to reach Mars. That contradicts relativity but doesn’t disprove it; hence they are both theories because they are both true but simultaneously contradict one another. Einstein spent the better half of his life finding the link between the two to solidify it into one single theory. Unfortunately, he was missing the constant or God Function in his calculations.
James puts the pen in the notebook’s crease and sets it on the windowsill next to the Collins glass. He then gets up out of the rocking chair, walks through his condo to the door, and then opens it. He doesn’t think to check the peephole.
“Yes?” “Hi. Are you Mr. Francis?” “Yes. That’s me.” “Hello, Mr. Francis. My name is Steve. I am with the maintenance staff here. I just wanted to check and make sure every-thin is working alright for ya. Are you have-in any issues with any-thin?” “Not that I know of. I only just got in, really.” “Alright, then. Just let me know you have any problems. You is responsible for repairs of any sort, but of the issue is minor enough; we can help.” “Alright. Sounds good. Thanks.” “Have a nice day.” “You as well.”