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I live alone in a secluded 2 bedroom apartment on at dead-end street. It’s perfect for a recording artist & writer. Every few months the real estate people send someone up to inspect the place. I’m tidy by nature so they don’t phase me. The inspections  are brief affairs. They take a few photos and engage in some superficial chat. It’s over & done with  in a few minutes.

A few months ago I had finished a cigarette on my back doorstep as I’m not allowed to smoke in the house (!). 20 minutes later a young girl arrived. She got to the back door area & asked if I had been smoking inside. I told her that I hadn’t but had recently had a cigarette on the back doorstep. She suggested that I shut the door whilst smoking. I didn’t give it a thought & did as she requested.

Things changed for the worst a few weeks later. My daughter took ill and needed transport home. Her Mum, a State Registered Nurse, was at work. I was outside having a cigarette with the door closed. I didn’t hear the phone. Luckily my parents were home and bought her to my place. She was pale & holding her stomach. It was period pain. I put her to bed and tried a hot pack on her abdomen with nil effect. I take 2 Panadeine Forte (codeine) for long-term lower back pain.As a retired State Registered Nurse I gauged that half a tablet would be appropriate (I’m a retired State Registered Nurse of 22 years).

I sat and wrote at my laptop where I could see her in the spare room. After an hour her pulse was no longer racing, her respirations had slowed to 14 per minute and her colour had improved. I took her back to her Mums a few hours later.. On the way home my blood started to boil.Anybody who knows me will tell you that I’m not the angry type but when I do get angry things end badly for others.

I got straight onto the phone to the Tenants Union & my lawyer & explained the situation about missing a very important phone call because I had been advised to close the door whilst smoking. They got back to me within a few days with the same news, namely that once I set foot out of the door, lighting a cigarette with the door closed or open is breaching no guideline & breaking no law. I can smoke 6 inches or 6 feet from the door, open or closed.

From that day on I have smoked with the door open & have actually received phone calls, so I may have missed more than my daughters in the past.

Last week a vaguely similar event occurred. I had just finished 2 cigarettes (with the door open) and had put the ashtray back in the cupboard. I then sat down at my laptop. I wouldn’t have been there 10 minutes when someone presented at my door. It was another house inspection. She was young, attractive & pleasant. The inspection took less than 5 minutes. I was waiting for something to be said about cigarette smoke but not a word was uttered.

Two days later I received a letter from the real estate people regarding the smell of smoke. Armed with the Tenants Union &  my lawyer I wrote them a patronising letter. Why wasn’t I notified of the inspection? I wrote that as an ‘opener.’ Why didn’t the young girl doing the inspection mention any smoke to me so that I could explain the situation & why? Was it inexperience? Was it fear? As a former State Registered Nurse of 22 years you learn to ‘read’ people & I suspect it was a combination of both on the part of the young girl.

In my letter I also mentioned that they were splitting invisible hairs & wasting their secretarys time by getting her to type the letter to me; the letter that included bold print which is a sure sign of an intimidatory move and also a sign of insecurity. Any Psychologist can tell you that.

I couldn’t help but annoy them. I offered them to come to my house any time and invent a flaw to evict me. I know full-well that this  won’t happen  but advised them my lawyer would have the case dismissed in minutes & the judge would frown upon such a frivolous and wrong accusation. I would then take the matter to the press.   I also pointed out that if I was falsely accused and a third time that I would take legal action. The matter would, without doubt, go in my favour.

As I said, on the few times I get angry, things end badly for others.