An awkward encounter with apartment maintenance

The other day, I had one of the most uncomfortable encounters that I have had in quite a while. I was in my apartment when there was a knock at my front door. Assuming it was the mailman dropping off a package, I ignored it. After about a minute, I start hearing an odd scratching noise from the direction of my front door, so I start walking over to see what it is. I turn the corner into my living room just to see some guy walking into my apartment. He sees me,freezes, and then starts apologizing for walking in. He begins to explain that he was here to perform regular quarterly maintenance in my apartment and that I should have gotten a notice (I didn’t). He then begins to rattle off the details of the maintenance work that he will be performing.

Because I had no idea that they were going to do work today, I hadn’t done anything to sway my presentation towards either gender. I was dressed in a T-shirt and jeans that did nothing to hide the effects of HRT but had instinctively used my boy voice. This ambiguity clearly confused the maintenance man. The entire time that he was describing the maintenance work to be performed he was making the oddest face and kept staring at my chest. He would stare at my chest, look at my face, go back to staring at my chest, look back at my face, look at his clipboard, back to my chest, back to the clipboard. He did not gender me or use my name (which was on the clipboard) during the entire conversation. Eventually, he finishes reading the list of work and asks if is it alright for him to perform the maintenance now and promises that it will only take 5-10 minutes. He was already in my apartment, so I approve and he go further into my apartment towards the water heater closet.

At this point, I was feeling very self-conscious about my chest so I walked across my living room and put on a flannel shirt that was hanging on the back of a chair. Almost immediately, I hear the maintenance guy say “I’m done” and he just grabs his stuff and rushes out of my apartment. It couldn’t have been more than 45 seconds between him going to work and then him leaving. He had literally just walked me through a list of actions to be performed and then did none of them. He never came back either. I guess I will need to check my own smoke detectors.

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