Monday, December 13, 2004


This morning I had arranged for a tradesman to come and fix the broken roller-shutters outside the study and The Flatmate's bedroom. He was supposed to come between 7.30 and 8.00, and by 8.30 he still hadn't showed. I'd been half-expecting it. You can't just have a problem, call a tradesman, arrange a mutually satisfactory time and have him come out and fix the problem. That is not a recognised step in the Great Tradesman Dance.

Usually the Dance goes something like this: You call the tradesman, you get his voicemail, you leave a message for him to call back. Days pass. He calls back, gets your answering machine, and leaves a message asking you to call him back. Repeat. When you eventually reach him, arrange a time and place somewhere in the dim, distant future. The day comes, and passes, without him appearing. Ring to find out what happened, get his voicemail, and leave a message. Repeat from the beginning. The Dance ends when lightening strikes your house and burns it to the ground. Then, as you're there sifting through the smouldering wreckage for your few surviving possessions, he turns up and says, "So, you the bloke who wanted some roller-shutters repaired?"

Perhaps this particular tradesman was new to the game, or maybe his dance card was already full. In any case he turned up just after 8.30am, when I was standing in my bedroom clad only in a damp business shirt, underpants, and one sock. I had to hurriedly throw on my bathrobe to get to the gate before he gave up and left. I think the single long black sock gave my ensemble its particular resonance.

Of course when I got back inside, I found that my damp business shirt had sucked red piling off my bathrobe like a squid sucking rivets off a submarine hull. And of course it wouldn't come off. I changed shirts and found the rest of my suit, then amused myself with a little light housework as he made banging noises at the windows and managed to get lost down the side of the house. After an hour and a half and $150, I had roller-shutters that go up and down again. Yee-har.


Blogger Viola said...

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