Thursday, April 22, 2010

Morning interruptions

So today is Thursday and my morning routine has been interrupted by some person knocking on my door all four days this week. Now I don't like to complain. I like to sleep in the mornings.

All four visits were warranted. I wasn't surprised by any of them. But still, they irritated me enough to write about them so here you go.

MONDAY: the V.I. census lady. Down here, the census is handled a little bit differently. Since no one goes by your official physical address -- "Yeah, it's the house near the fence, past the stray dogs and right next to the palm tree that looks like a Iceland volcano" -- the census form is mailed to your P.O. Box and you're supposed to hold on to it until a certified census person comes to pick it up at your house.

The first form was mailed. I procrastinated. A week later, the census lady knocked on my door. I hide in the back room. A week later, she ran down my girlfriend, who was headed to work and couldn't deal with her so she set up an appointment to visit me at 8 a.m. How grand is that?

Back in the states, I heard you guys have a one-page census form. Here in paradise, it was a 56-question booklet that the lady goes over with you one question at a time.

"OK, now let's do your wife, Brianna. Do you know all of her info and where her parents were born?"

"What? You got to be kidding me?"

TUESDAY: the Direct TV guy. Now this was a glorious encounter. For so many days I have been deprived of ESPN and other pointless cable networks but those days would now be over, pending a really bad thunder storm.

We get the feed from San Juan, Puerto Rico so channels like MTV are in Spanish. It is hilarious to watch 16-year-old teenage mothers flip out because they can't handle their new-born babies and get irked by their own mother's participation. Not as good as the Bubble-Bee Man show on The Simpsons but almost.

I worked out a deal a few days prior to get the satellite for around 40 bucks a month. Not bad, huh? But in order to get a DVR box, it would be another cool $200. I had a fresh $100 bill in my wallet when the installment guy came so I went for it.

"So you got any extra DVR boxes on that truck because my friend, Mr. Benjamin, loves to record the shows he can't see because he's at work?"

I slyly revealed the $100 bill and raised an eye brow, "How 'bout it?"

The Direct TV guy laughed. "You know they are going to re-design the $100 bill? I read about it in the Daily News today."

I put the money back in my pocket and sat down on the couch. Defeated.

"So how many channels am I going to get?"

WEDNESDAY: the dog groomer. Since my dogs had started to smell like Fritos and they love sleeping on the pillows on my bed while I'm at work, we decided to get the girls cleaned up.

Brianna was recommended a guy named Paul and he turned out to be pretty cool. Once again, I woke up at 8 a.m. because he had an earlier appointment cancel on him.

I had to sit on the porch with him because the dogs get a little crazy with groomers. While he cut, cleaned and reversed vacuumed every loose, filthy hair off my dogs, we talked about a wide range of things: local high schools, different kinds of beer, his wife, his girls on the side, why I should be very nice to my girlfriend or else she will leave me. Pretty basic stuff.

When he was done and half the block was covered in Hunter's skeleton hair, I realized I did not have enough cash for him -- Mr. Benjamin was spent at the gas station Tuesday afternoon. I asked him to follow me to the nearby bank and he gave me the classic deadbeat sympathy look.

When I left the ATM and gave him the cash, he mentioned that he also sold drugs to make ends meet for him and his family. I told him that I could only make one ATM withdraw a day and then revealed that my uncle was the man behind the saying, "Just Say No To Drugs."

He was not familiar with the motto, sort of shook his head and drove off.

THURSDAY: the refrigerator repair man. What a character? Now this jackass came last month because our fridge was leaking and sure enough it was leaking again.

Last month, after I nodded at him and acted interested in what he had to say, he started to pitch me on some cancer-preventing pill that he has taken for the last 15 years. This time around, it was some cell phone service provider.

"Just fix the refrigerator, please," I said. "I have to be at work soon."

It was 9:30 a.m. and I wasn't planning on work for at least another three hours but I couldn't stand his banter. Blah, blah, blah. He took the frozen food out my freezer, put it in the sink and then went on this rant about how the VI youths are killing each other.

"Please, just finish the job," I said. "The ice cream is starting to melt."

After about an hour of pointless fidgeting, he gave up. I guess that was all he needed to earn his pay.

"I'm going to tell Roy (my landlord) that you just need a new fridge," he said. "This one has expired."

"It's either that or I'll see you next month, huh?" I barked. "What will you be pushing by then? Sewing machines, male-enhancement pills?"

He didn't laugh. He immediately put together his tool box, said good bye and walked out. I guess I can kiss that new fridge good bye.

All I need is a few ice cubes for the rum. Is that too much to ask for?

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