The maintenance guy thinks I’m a serial killer.

We’ve had some issues with our smoke detectors going off at random intervals, and the joys of apartment life allow for a quick email to the maintenance department.

A lovely man arrived yesterday. He changed some batteries. I stood with him under the alarm near my office door while he explained how all the sensors are “linked up,” and then I remembered my board.

I glanced over. So did he.

I should note that I live my office life like no one is watching. Meaning I don’t stage things when people come over, even strangers. My office is my space, and it stays the way I like it. All are welcome, but many walk away confused.

The maintenance guy took in the board full of random pictures, couples kissing, and a mighty shirtless man drinking coffee bathed in maybe the most perfect light ever captured on film. The images are pinned haphazardly among scraps of paper, quotes, and a few ribbons.

People have noticed different board incarnations before. The standard question is, “What’s with the board?” It has been a long time since I’ve had a maintenance guy in my home.

He said nothing. He looked at me, back at the board for a beat past awkward, and then up at the smoke detector.

“So, are we all set?” I asked.

“Yup.” He walked out of my office. “You’re good,” he said before commenting on the weather and leaving with a smile.

I went back to my office, grateful for the silence but wondering where I sat on the strange-resident scale.

Why hadn’t he just asked about the board? Maybe he didn’t want to be nosey, or perhaps he wanted deniability in case I was a serial killer.

“I saw nothing, officer. She seemed like a nice lady.”

Or, more likely, he didn’t care. I’m sure he sees all kinds of things.

Last week when Jack and I came back from our evening walk, some man was stoned out of his mind sitting crisscross in the stairwell with a whole bucket of chicken in his lap. He tossed a bone at the opposite wall as we approached our floor.

My inspiration board probably doesn’t even phase these guys. Or maybe it does. Maybe he was distracted, too scared of what might be in my freezer because the damn smoke detector started chirping again this afternoon.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Set the Alarm.

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