So, the painters arrived this morning. They were early, a phenomenon with which I am unfamiliar in terms of manual-labor folk. I thought I had more time than I actually did, so I sped over to my parents' house to bring in the newspaper, turn off the outside lights, open the shades, thus creating the illusion that they are home, and not visiting my great-aunt in Florida.
Come drop in-- my mom has dubious taste in carpeting, but she has an expensive pottery collection. Better hurry, though, they come home tonight!
They were putting their ladders and tarps and shit on the porch when I pulled up, twelve minutes prior to their scheduled arrival time. Seeing them there early was the first thing that startled me. Seeing three South-of-the-Border dudes with spikey black hair, sleeveless shirts and tattoos was the second thing that surprised me.
I don't know exactly what I was expecting. Being a very wet-behind-the-ears homeowner, the only experience I have with contractors and/or painters is O'Reilly's workmen from "The Builders" episode of Fawlty Towers. If the guy who came to do our estimate had been, well, Mexican (or hispanic-- I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I don't know what the difference is) then I don't think I would have been surprised-- but he wasn't. He was white. Very, very white-- of the blonde haired, blue-eyed, master-race variety. Maybe it's just me, but I felt real weird about him doling out orders to these guys and having them, "Si, boss"ing him. Silly me: I had thought that the whole idea of the pale-faced Boss Man giving orders to a bunch of darker-toned, beefy young men kind of went out of style in, oh, I don't know... 1865.
But I guess old habits die hard.
It's just funny, you meet Aaron, with the blonde hair and the blue eyes, and you are comfortable and confident with him. Then the crew shows up and you're like, oh. That's who I'm really leaving in my house from 8:30-5:00 while my wife and I are at work.
It's like having an initial consultation with a doctor that you really like, and then seeing the P.A. every other time you go there, or the R.N. It's like-- but... what about the doctor? Is he just the bait to lure me and my insurance card into the practice? Or was he just window dressing? I mean, sure, Aaron was there this morning with the 3 Amigos, but he split after 15 minutes-- "to get supplies." I've been back to the house twice now today, and no Aaron.
Anyway, they seem like perfectly nice guys. I don't have gobs of evidence to support that since I think their grasp of English is, well, mal. I'm pretty sure that I know more Spanish than they do English, but I don't think it would be appropriate to start a conversation with them in Spanish. That would kind of be the equivalent of some random hiker in Connecticut wishing me good shabbas. You just don't do that. They've obviously been carefully trained to not make eye contact with caucasians, as they firmly gazed at the floor when shaking my hand and mumbling their terse introductions which all sounded like,
Apparently, they're animal-lovers, too. After consulting on the phone with Mrs. Apron, I decided this morning to gate our 70 pound dog in the I suppose medium-sized bathroom, citing the advantage of a cool tile floor for him to relax on, a full water bowl (no, I'm not referring to the toilet) and the major advantage of him being out of the way of the painters. When I came home mid-day to take Finley on a little walk and air him out a little, I was a bit shocked to see that he was no longer in the bathroom, but he had been gated in our bedroom.
"putinbiggerroom," mumbled Paco.
That was very nice of you, I wanted to say. Instead, I just smiled. I was grateful for their thoughtfulness, though it was probably more a function of them needing to piss and being tired of stepping over the dog gate. (They had left the seat up.) Though they did think about giving the dog more breathing room, they didn't manage to move his water bowl into the bedroom. I suppose he could have just drank his own urine if it got really bad. I mean, it's not like he was stuck on the Andes Mountains after a plane crash, right?
In addition to depriving him of hydration, they also, um, painted him. I realized it when we were outside on our little perambulation. His ordinarily jet black tail was now, um, half white. I'm sure it was unintentional, but a brief vision of these three guys waving paintbrushes around, streaking through my house, buck-ass naked and slammed on mescal singing Harry Belafonte songs at the top of their lungs as they... you know... painted my dog.
He's okay, though. Look, if it were his face or his doodle, I would have said something to them, but it was just his tail and it all came off. Well, most of it did.
Besides, they outnumber me.