Maintenance Mike & The Domesticated Harpy
My morning started off rudely.
I was awakened first by the construction noises nearby on another patio. And i drifted in and out of sleep, still needing another few hours.
Then a banging at my door set my heart to pounding. And the person kept banging. I hurried to open the door, my pistol behind my back as usual, (I am a single woman who lives alone. I make no apologies) and opened the door.
The construction guy was standing there with three other guys (already a little daunting for a woman alone) and announced that I had to move my stuff off the patio so they could work on it. He said it rudely. Like he had testosterone poisoning.
My hand tightened around the pistol grip. (okay, just kidding, that was for dramatic effect. I don’t just go around shooting people who knock on my door. Unless they’re from a church, soliciting my soul. Then, yeah. of course. Why wouldn’t I?)
Now understand, that one of my biggest pet peeves is to be awakened rudely. Especially by loud sounds. That’s why I hate alarm clocks. I have an almost epileptic response. And also understand that i have a sort of primal fear of someone knocking on my door. Not sure where that comes from, but it just stresses me out. Maybe because it represents someone trying to get into my home and i don’t know who it is. Weird, i know. But for whatever reason, it’s highly stressful.
So I’m standing at my door, having weathered those two very personally stressful things happening at the same time, and this guy is telling me I have to move stuff off my patio, and I’m still in my pajamas. (Okay, I often stay in my pajamas all day…That’s why I say i have a Pajama Job…but i don’t like being FORCED out of my Pajamas, unless it’s for a good reason. Like one that includes a really pretty woman).
Back to our show:
After he TOLD me what i was going to do, i TOLD him what was REALLY going to happen. “Listen here, Scooter, don’t pound on my door and tell me what I’m going to do. You did not give me any kind of notice, and I am recovering from a ruptured disc in my neck. I’m not moving anything. You should have given me time to make arrangements. And since you didn’t, arrangements will have to be made. In the meantime, you’ll have to go terrorize someone else.”
Dude took one step back. And then he and his boyfriends just walked away. I guess that work i did in my Card-Carrying-Harpy class really paid off. There would be no tearing of flesh today.
SO I slam the door. I felt it was necessary to make my point. But had to grab the mirror hanging on the wall there, so it wouldn’t fall. Damn. Just what i need. Seven years of bad luck on top of the last 7 years i just had. I still can’t remember what mirror i broke last time, but it must have been the size of a billboard.
Anyway. I’m thinking about coffee, which always makes me feel better, and there was no way i was going to go back to sleep anyway. So i made coffee and tried to get my heart rate back down. I called the office and told them what happened, very careful not to be in Harpy mode. Rep said she’d have Mike come over and handle it–i think the head of maintenance. Great, I say. Meaning, Great, another man with testosterone poisoning.
A few minutes later, Mike pecked on my patio door, and I stepped out to talk to him. He was immediately courteous. He completely understood dealing with back and neck issues. He’d had surgery on his. And he said there was no way they should have done that the way they did. They were supposed to give me enough notice. And he said that he’s there to make sure i get the help I need, and that anytime i ever needed anything moved or any help at all, to call him. It was not only his job, but he enjoyed helping. I said, “That’s so refreshing these days. I just wish people would do it because that’s who they want to be, and not becuase of some perceived reward.” (that’s one of my test questions. I always say things like that to see what someone will say, so I’ll know where they’re coming from). He said. “Jae, I do this because it makes ME feel good. So in a way, i guess it’s a little selfish. I enjoy helping people because of how it makes me feel.”
Okay, really good answer but he skirted the religion part. And I’m always afraid they’re going to start preaching to me at any moment and ask me if I’ve accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and then it will get ugly because i have so much to say on that subject. But it didn’t matter at that point. I already liked him. I already thought about baking him some bread and giving him a fresh cup of coffee later.
The thing about me is, I can be the sweetest most generous and friendly person in the world if you treat me with respect, but the minute you mistreat me, the claws come out, and i go for the jugular. I guess I’m sort of a Domesticated Harpy.
My day improved substantially after that. We stood on the patio and had a nice chat; He reiterated to call him anytime I needed help and I told him I wished I’d known about him when I moved in. Then we talked about our experiences with Frozen Shoulder, Rotator cuff injuries, Bone Spurs, Disc issues; and then about his daughter who is also a writer, and about his son with Asberger’s Syndrome who can do all kinds of wonderful things, including write, and how we both wish some of the old fashioned things would swing back around: like doctors who tell the truth, chivalry, customer service, respect, and people being willing to help and have compassion. I’m thinking he and his family are the types I’d like to be friends with. Anyone who can take the day I was having, and change it into something so positive, well, they deserve a medal. Or fresh baked bread and coffee.
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