Kafkaesque Much?

22 Nov

Over the weekend, I had to call my Aunt Bev because my name is one of three names on the deed to a house in Topeka, Kansas, and Aunt Bev is attempting to sell the house to my cousin Shelly. Over the phone, she said she needed my email address to give to the real estate agent, so I gave her my email address. She also said this sale is to be completed December 1. The agent would email me papers to sign, and I’d email them back, according to my aunt.

Two days after my unpleasant phone conversation with Aunt Bev, her real estate agent called me. She asked for my email address, and I gave it to her without asking why Aunt Bev hadn’t done so. The entire point of my enduring a phone conversation with Aunt Bev was to pass my email address on to the real estate agent.

On Tuesday morning, I’d made significant headway writing one of my novels and went to my bedroom in order to take a nap at about 10:30. Immediately after I lay down, the phone rang. It was the real estate agent again. This time she claimed that the paperwork “is due tomorrow at noon.” I was utterly flabbergasted. Aunt Bev had told me that this was to be completed December 1, not November 19. I pointed this out to the real estate agent, and she just repeated that “No, it’s due tomorrow at noon.” She didn’t admit that I’d been given false information, and she didn’t apologize about it. This was the first I heard of the actual deadline.

Over the phone, she said that the papers, “have to be overnighted. They can’t be faxed because it has to be the original documents.” This completely contradicted what she said in the emails, in which she instructed—or rather bossed around, not using the word “please” or otherwise being civil—that the papers had to be faxed or emailed back to her. She didn’t admit that this was what she herself stated in the emails!

She didn’t apologize or admit that she did things incorrectly. Although she didn’t speak to me in a hostile or aggressive manner, I was struck by how she seemed to be trying to make me look stupid while she was in fact making herself look stupid.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people from Kansas (and indeed from the Midwest in general) are barbarians who don’t apologize, don’t admit they were wrong or did wrong. It’s a very sociopathic trait. I mean that in the sense that it suggests an absence of remorse or conscience. Admittedly, a friend explained to me that the attitude is that they don’t want to lose face, to back down, to admit that they’re wrong. Perhaps behind that is shame; if they admit that they’re wrong about anything, then they admit that they’re not perfect and therefore the lies about what a “superior” person they are will be exposed. Insane.

Instead of napping, I went to the UPS store and this time successfully printed the documents that I found as attachments to the two emails that the real estate agent sent me.  (I had attempted to print them last time I was at In Other Words, and the printer was being ornery and only let me print three pages.) I went through the paperwork and signed wherever it looked like I was supposed to sign. Still at the UPS store, I paid about fifty dollars in order to have an envelope full of paperwork shipped overnight. I sent the real estate agent a civilized email (in contrast with her bossy, capital letters email that involved no greeting or “signature”). I wrote:



I have shipped the package, and it is scheduled to arrive at 10:30 tomorrow morning, in your time zone.



The next morning at about 11, the real estate agent called again. This time she said she received the paperwork, but not all of it, and that it wasn’t notarized. She said that she can’t have it notarized in Kansas because it has to be done by a notary with me in Oregon. This was the very first mention of my needing a notary! She again never apologized, never so much as admitted or acknowledged that she hadn’t given me any information in the body of the email.

I returned to the UPS store on Hawthorne Boulevard. I suspect that they’re sick of seeing me. I used their computer again. I opened the emails again, and I printed the papers again because the real estate agent said I have to reprint them and take them to a notary. With the papers in front of me, I called the real estate agent on my cell phone and told her what papers were in front of me. She claimed that there were other papers, which was odd since what I printed was exactly what she sent. She also claimed that there were Xs at the bottom of each page for me to initial…but I saw no such Xs. I explained that the bottom margin was cut off. She said she would email me all the correct documents in one email, in just a moment.

After hanging up, I sat anxiously waiting for this email. At the time, it didn’t occur to me to say or think: “Couldn’t you have just emailed me all the correct documents in one email in the first place? She had originally sent two emails—two days in a row—and the attached paperwork was different in each. One email had one attachment; the other email had three attachments.

I waited longer than I expected. I charged up my phone and read a couple pages in a book I brought. I kept checking my email, and finally I closed my email and reopened it.

Finally, the email arrived. All the documents were in one attachment this time, as they should have been originally.  I called the real estate agent, and she walked me through signing and initialing. This time all the paperwork was there without cut-off margins.

I went to my credit union and asked for a notary. While I sat at the notary’s desk, she observed that the first page of the three pages that needed notarizing in fact said “I/We, the undersigned,” instead of “I, Susan E. Wigget.” She said this isn’t valid, because anyone could sign the paperwork, and she needed a form that would have my name printed on it. She gave me a business card with her fax number. I called the real estate agent and explained, and the agent said I could print my name right under the line for signing it. I passed the phone to the notary, and she got it straightened out. We waited for a better form to be faxed, and that came through after a wait of about fifteen minutes.

The real estate agent had canceled the twelve noon meeting and allowed me until Friday morning to ship the package. I returned to the UPS store one last time and shipped the package to arrive on Friday morning, thus spending another $28 on shipping, in addition to the initial $50 and at least $30 on printing. In the paperwork, I’d noticed that the house—a two-story Craftsman bungalow that’s over a hundred years old—is only selling for $50,000, about half the price of a studio condo in Portland, Oregon. I don’t even know if I’ll get any of the money, since according to my aunt the motivation for selling the house right now is so that Evil Aunt Ethel the sociopath can pay for her nursing home rent.

I haven’t received any more phone calls from the real estate agent, thank Goddess.


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