‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ Lewis Carrol, Through The Looking Glass
I live at a large senior apartment complex in south Summerlin called Carefree Senior Living.
We’ve just been informed that a COVID-19 case has developed here for the first time. This notice was posted in 8 point type on green paper in the mailroom. Unreadable. The type is so small it could be a warranty registration card printed on Christmas paper. Normally, an important notice gets taped to the door of the more than 400 units here. That’s because many residents check their mail only once a week. It’s important, therefore, to post notices on every door when something major happens like a water shutoff or service to the fire alarm system. In this life or death case, a barely legible notice got posted in one part of the complex. I asked one resident in the parking lot here if he had read the notice and he said no. He said he was basically shut in and only visited the mail room now and then.
There may be 500 to 600 residents here, I know the average age is 77 because Carefree released that number some time ago. We’re listed as a “vulnerable community” by the State of Nevada and there are numerous and specific restrictions on what activities can now take place. The clubhouse is shut down, the pool restricted, previously completely shut down, no bus service any longer, no breakfast, and the list goes on. So be it.
In their notice they described the fault as probably being from residents not masking up. However, front office staff never masked up during the first few months of this crisis, while most of us residents were doing so. Only the maintenance staff has faithfully masked up from the start. Congratulations, Bambi and Sam. In fact, I donated masks to the front office when they became available and never saw staff use them. Maybe they gave them to residents, I don’t know. I sure know they weren’t using any masks of any kind. I always masked out of an abundance of caution, even with the experts disagreeing. Why risk the residents when wearing a mask is so simple?
Ken Templeton, the absentee owner of the complex, wrote in the latest monthly apartment newsletter on the importance of masking. Yet his staff never masked up. To be fair to the complex, one case may not be considered serious given the large number of people here, however, testing has just begun in earnest. Yet, staff has never followed best practices and now we are getting blamed. This is inexcusable.
I care about the residents here. Asking that my name not be mentioned, I donated toilet paper whenever I could, I donated masks at great expense when some finally became available, and I donated $200 to help residents pay for Lfyt and Uber rides since the bus was shut down. Many people here are on fixed budgets. I care about these people. Many remind me of my parents, now passed.
When I got back from Pahrump this afternoon I saw that the letter had been put in each resident’s mailbox. It was full of nonsense and blame. I was so mad I marched into the office and yelled at the staff for their failure to mask up during this time and for now blaming the incident on the residents. Having said my piece, I started to walk out when the lead manager said behind my back, “Everybody has their opinion.” I totally lost my temper and started screaming. An opinion? If I see a neighbor’s dog crap on my lawn, that is not an opinion when I confront the owner. It’s a fact. Opinion, hell. As Dr. Frasier Crane famously asked Woody on Cheers, “What color is the sky in your world?”
I have seen for months now the front office people going without masks. Every time I went in I was masked up. These are facts, not opinions, and nearly all residents here have seen the same thing. Opinion, hell. This is a way for them to blame others for their bad behavior. It is sickening and I am glad I am moving. No doubt this is a coverup for legal reasons. And also because they don’t really care for the people here, just for that monthly rent check.
Templeton himself is undoubtedly the cause of this poison. This owner has never responded to the four times I tried to communicate with him. I even sent him snail mail on one occasion about the lack of security cameras. No response. Nothing. Nada. And I gave him my full name, apartment number and phone number every time. He missed the last two community meetings here at the complex, much to the disappointment of everyone. Everyone had questions for him, he didn’t have the time. And this ruinous behavior filters down to the people he employees, at least the front office staff. Who, unfortunately, come into contact with the most residents.
A pox on all of them.