We’ve already established the story of my youth as an apartment dweller in Queens. 65-43 Parsons Blvd was half of a double 6-story building with 37 units. The first 36 were on floors one through six. The 37th was in the basement. It belonged to the ‘super.’
I am guessing ‘super’ is a New York City term. In case you’re an out-of-towner, it’s short for superintendent and most moderate to large buildings have one or more.
The super took care of getting the trash out from the incinerator, watching the boiler and keeping the building in shape. If we had a problem in the apartment, it was the super (or someone else assigned to maintenance in this immense apartment complex) who would come to make the repair.
Because I know about supers, I don’t know about hammers or screwdrivers or any of the other tools adult males should understand. I never used tools – I didn’t have too.
Obviously, in our little apartment, there was no woodshop or work bench. I am deprived in that classically city way.
Now I’m an adult (hold your comments). I live in a house. We have a basement, but no super. I’ve checked. He’s not there!
That brings me to today and the beheaded mailbox I wrote about yesterday. It was my job to reattach everything, but I’m an idiot as far as handiwork is concerned.
I headed to Home Depot last night between newscasts. One of our anchors chides me for going, in a suit. You do stick out in Home Depot wearing a suit. I have little hardware store experience.
I needed the rectangular plastic piece that sits between the post and the mailbox.
I walked the aisles of Home Depot, marveling at all the neat things they have, whose purpose is lost on me. My prey was hiding in aisle 11.
I’m sure it has a name, this piece of plastic… and surely a super would know it. I do not.
Today, as Rudy the mailman drove down our block, I went to the curb. I was in pajamas, a coat and work boots. I carried a Black and Decker cordless drill.
While driving one screw with the drill, the bit fell out. I’m sure the super would have a done a better job tightening it. In my case, it fell through the snow pile like a “Daisy Cuter” into a mountain at Tora Bora.
Maybe in the spring the bit will show up. Right now, it’s MIA.
Getting the old plastic off was easy. Getting the new plastic piece on was also easy. That’s probably because I put it in the wrong spot!
Once the plastic was properly in place, I attached the mailbox. By now Rudy had come by to watch me work and to tell me, even though he had passed my mailbox-less house, he was coming back to drop it off at my front door. I hope so.
I attached the left side of the mailbox, walked around to the right and realized I had positioned it too far over. Back to loosen the first screws, then insert the others.
For a super, this is a two minute job. For me, a guy who came perilously close to failing 7th grade shop (and who had to find a piece of Ponderosa Pine when I ‘planed’ through the one the school had given me) the job lasted over 20 minutes.
So, tomorrow when Rudy drives our block, he’ll have a place to put the mail. And, of course, next time it snows, there will be a new target for the plow.
At this moment, I really miss having a super.