Here is a story of a remarkable Melbourne building inspector whose life made me give pause. It may mean something to you or not, but nevertheless, read on.
It all started one morning, just as I was about to go to an apartment building that I was going to show to a client later that day. I decided to take a walk and leave my car at home since it was only a few blocks away. Just as I was about to reach the corner of the 2nd block, I saw a man looking down a sewer grate, yelling something I couldn’t hear. As I walked up to the man to see what was going on, he saw me, threw something down the grill and ran away. Of course my curiosity got the better of me and so I peered into the grate. What I saw was the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life.
Down below there was the most luxurious home you’d ever see in your life, at least a home that was underground. And the man there was living a life fit for a king. The man had a balding spot and was wearing a purple robe with fuzzy slippers, while watching a news program on a flat screen television. It was a jarring sight to say the least since how often do you see a 5-star hotel room like quality living space below the streets? I tried to call out to the man, but I wasn’t heard over the din of the day’s traffic. After spending a few minutes admiring the scene, I went ahead to the apartment building.
Now, this is where things get weird. When I arrived at the building, I met with the certified building inspector who was to conduct the building inspection for the apartment, and he struck me as someone I knew. I shrugged it off, but as we were going the rounds, the sound of his voice was familiar and it occurred to me that he was the man earlier that day, talking to the guy living under the street. We finished the inspection and after dealing with the client’s of the day, I invited the man for a cup of coffee. He accepted and I told him of the scene I witnessed earlier that day. Here is what he told me.
The man living below ground was his dad. They once lived in a luxurious condominium in the middle of the city when it all came tumbling down. Literally. Apparently, the building’s owners never got around to having the building inspected. Which is the reason why the inspector became a certified building inspector. Turns out, the reason why his dad was living under ground was because he was afraid of living above ground since the fact. They bought that part of the sewer and made it livable. He has been living under there for the past ten years now. And what of the stuff he threw down the sewer? It was just dirt to give his dad some peace of earth the son was living on.