Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What People Do and How They do It

 I know a man who works for a contractor. This man is a great plasterer and painter and worker in general. He's careful about cleaning up after himself and attentive to details. I've known him for a long time, and he's done lots of work in my house. This man is very good-natured, and he likes to tell stories when he's here working.
     One time, he told me about some of the mistakes he and the guys he works with make. Crazy, shocking things for a homeowner to hear--like ceiling parts falling down, or pipes connected wrong, or paint splashing on a customer's custom-upholstered couch, or dropping a new porcelain sink on the way into a customer's house and having it shatter on the pavement. I know this sounds crazy, but these are very responsible people, and they fix their mistakes, and everyone makes them, and with all the work they do, and all the equipment and the carrying and lifting and physicality and so forth, the mistakes may be louder or more visible than the ones you and I make.
But the point of the story was not so much the mistakes but the way these guys make fun of each others' mistakes. They laugh their heads off when someone else makes a mistake and taunt and tease unrelentingly, enjoying the pleasure of the moment, knowing (perhaps) all the while that retribution will be coming in the not-too-distant future, but not letting this diminish the pleasure.

This is so different from how I am that I barely know how to take it in. Still, this story did help me out today. How, you ask.
     Yesterday, I hired a handyman to do a job for me. I chose him on a friend's recommendation. The job was to assemble our new composter because our old one recently fell apart. Here's what it looks like. It comes in a very heavy box, and it has a million parts, and assembling things like this is outside the comfort zone of my husband and me. We could do it, but it would likely take us a whole day and cause us extensive consternation. So I hired the handyman. He came, and in two hours, he and his partner put the thing together, and to me, that seemed like genius, and well worth the price.
After he left, however, and I took a good look, I realized that the door was installed upside down--or perhaps it was the panel that the door connects to, making it not impossible but exceedingly difficult to open and close. I knew I had to call the handyman back and ask him to return to fix it. But I felt awful about this. Would he have to dismantle the whole thing to install that panel the right way? Would it even be possible? I had a hard time sleeping last night thinking about this, but especially about asking him to come back to fix the mistake. But then I thought of that man I know who laughs at his friends' mistakes and lets them laugh at him. And that gave me courage. Call made, but the composter is not yet fixed, and I feel a little queasy but I'm trying to remember the laughing. Stay tuned for updates.


Anonymous said...

You should laugh too. This will be okay and it took your mind off some other crazies going on in the world.

Like the notice that I have illegal letters in my URL contains illegal letters.

Susan Messer said...

Thanks. Laughing is good. I know that. I went with my family to see Second City because I wanted to laugh out loud. I've lived in Chicago for 20+ years but had never gone. Was so excited. Just could not believe how completely un-funny it was. I didn't even really laugh once, and I felt kind of miserable and frustrated the whole time.

Not sure what's up with the illegal letters. Even letters are illegal now? Definitely time to get government off our backs.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes "funny" is not funny to everyone. Never got into Rocky Horror movie as many times as I tried. I like to say "it' or someone I don't like made it without me. Hard to laugh these days, but not to worry. Our president is doing what he always does: when times are tough, he goes on vacation.

Now my Safari page won't go back to Home page where all my Bookmarks (that, for some reason with all the geniuses, can't be alphabetized) are. Instead I get an error saying "503 error". When I Googled that number, the message said that was not correct!

I also managed to spill a single granule packet of Starbucks coffee on my coveted Joan Baez shirt, new white sneakers and the jeans I was wearing.

Look at some old Johnny Carson clips on YouTube. You will laugh while you wonder how the current late-night hosts bother. I recommend "The Clapper Caper" with Johnny and Jack Webb.

I hopefully don't think these computer glitches are the fault of the government. Too busy fighting losing wars while our infrastructure crumbles and so many Americans are starving.


Jim Poznak said...

Spoiler alert! Susan figured out how to fix the composter door, which turned out to be very simple, and the handyman came and did it!

Susan Messer said...

Anon, It's true that humor is a very personal thing, but 2nd City . . . ? I just always thought that . . .

Jim, I've been thinking about spoilers . . . and that the how is just as important as the what. But I'm happy for the happy ending (and the shiny new composter) and to have my faith in humanity (at least some portions of it) validated.

Margaret P. said...

I have wanted to get a composter, but am afraid of attracting rats and I have a raccoon too that gets into my garbage. Do you recommend this model? Can I order it online?

Susan Messer said...

Yes, absolutely, we recommend this type of composter. No problem with rats or raccoons because it's off the ground and well sealed. We've never had problems of that kind. It's called the ComposTumbler. (assembly required)