Thursday, August 14, 2008

Friends, Countrymen, Contractors

Something we all know: workmanship lags these days. I can't say I'm one to complain, but I've had a few interesting run arounds with tweaked contractors, and by and largely they seem like a desperate lot to me, hard drinkers, frustrated artists, liars, wishful thinkers. I for one can't judge anyone else for being any of those things. Far be it from me to throw the first stone.

Once when we needed someone I just opened the phone book and picked the first one in the A section. They were probably called something like AAA or AAAA but I can't be sure now so don't sue me for slander. They did the ugliest work I've ever seen and once when we expected them to show up to fix something they botched we found out they couldn't come because they were in jail for brawling with each other. Lucky you are if you can do your own handiwork.

We had a great one named Carlos, we loved him, even though having been raised by a mother who punished him by making him kneel on rice had trained him to be a masochist. Contracting is the perfect job for masochists. His assistant was a mean man who always seemed to have a rank cloud of contempt around him. Apparently he stole my husband's watch, one from Old Navy, not Cartier. After the watch had been missing for a while we were passing my neighbor's house where this man was working in the basement. We knew that because his arm was sticking out the basement window, his wrist ringed by the spousal watch. When confronted, he and my husband almost got in a fight until I got right in between them. Would have been interesting if that foolish maneuver hadn't done the trick. I don't even remember if he got the watch back.

Out to get a few lunch things for my oldest who's home sick with a stomachache I passed by this man and asked him if I could take a picture of the hallway he was sitting next to. He said yes, and I thought he lived there, but turns out the old man is doing some work on someone's apartment there. He joked about me taking his picture and it turns out that taking pictures of the eldery is a rare delight. I found out in life drawing that the 28th nymph they signed up to model was a lot less interesting to me than the granny in her rocker. But then again, I don't have any knackers.

Since the man on the stoop was a photographer himself in the 90's, he didn't take my fussing about angles personally, which is always a relief. His name's Lenny Brooks and he lives in Bensonhurst, and spoke to me about his street photography, Robert Frank (sigh), and of course the kind of crap that passes for building these days. When I asked if I could take a picture of his name tatooed on his arm, he cracked himself up by joking that I could take a picture of all of him, before recommending to me that I give my daughter some gingerale and burned toast for her stomach. Chances are I'll never see his pictures, or any more of him. So much infinity, so little time. I told him I was going to put his picture on the internet, he was ok with that, or who knows, maybe he thought I was kidding. Some people take that as a joke when I mean it very seriously.

The mailbox shot isn't what I was hoping it would be. I needs a hasselhoff. I mean, blad.

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