Finding the elusive handyman of love has been my Holy Grail for a couple of months now. I should clarify; handymen have been found, but keeping handymen around is like trying to scoop water with a fork.
I find great bargains on things like ceiling fans, but spend the equivalent on a person who knows how to install them, which has not been easy. Four boxed fans are currently sitting in the living room next to the sofa. At least they make a good side table.
At last count, there have been five potential handymen who have auditioned for the job.
Finding and losing all these handymen makes me feel young again. Each potential handyman has shown enthusiasm for what could be a long term relationship, leading to things like spare cash in their pockets. They come over, check things out, say they’ll be back, or that they’ll call, and that’s it. I never hear from them again, or they change their minds.
It turns you into a 16 year old again, a teen girl begging her friends to tell her why he showed interest, but never called? Why? Was it me? Was it him? What did I do wrong? And the ever prevalent refrain of many females from birth to death: What could I do to improve? How can I please him? Not: What was wrong with him? Never: Who raised this guy that he would make a commitment, promise to call, and then never show? Never even text?
One recent handyguy caused me to give chase, not unlike an episode of 24, according to my ever observant friend and guest poster, David Williams.
I had never watched the show, 24, but knew enough about it to feel exactly like a detective following clues. Billy, a handyman recommended by a local motel owner we know, had come over, worked for two hours, accomplishing little, had to leave at 10:30, so he said, but would be back by 12. I paid him the extra hours he’d work, and by 2pm, I was kicking myself.
I knew he was staying at the Hacienda Motel with his wife, having lost his job in Empire, NV. I drove over there to talk to the manager, who inexplicably behaved like he had just come from Burning Man. He kept telling me to stop and observe the clouds and go dance in the sunshine.
There are few things more off putting than an over the hill hippie. it is surreal to ask someone about a missing handyman, only to be sucked down a rabbit hole discussing the wonders of the universe and the trials of modern society. Getting high is necessary in those conversations.
While he regaled me with his political views, which included a dissertation on why a teen boy would assault the 14 year old daughter of one his guests (he blamed society, in case you hadn’t guessed), I gleaned the information that Billy had promised to work for him that afternoon after he’d worked for me in the morning. All very lofty, if only Billy had followed through.
Finally, I turned to Brandon and said, “There’s nowhere to go in this town. Bet you two to one he’s at the casino. Let’s go check.” (Around here, 24 hours goes a lot faster.)
I won the bet–which was appropriate in the context–because sure enough, his car was there, the windows half down and his wife’s purse on the floor. We looked for him inside, but couldn’t find him, so I dropped a note through his window telling him to return my money forthwith. To my utter amazement, four hours later, he did.
It is a small town, but I proved that my sleuthing skills are top notch.
This town has no bar, but needs one. Not some peppy, preppy martini bar, either. The casino has a bar; it’s a small tent style casino with slots, but no table games. There’s a saloon in the hotel, but what the town should open, smack on Main St, is a dark, smoky, hole in the wall bar with a pool table, and a jukebox. The kind of bar where hope goes to die.
The Lazy Cowpoke. The Bottom Rail. The Mane and Tail. Something. That would provide another avenue to finding disappearing handymen. They have to fix stuff if I beat them at pool.
Handymen are like doctors and there are no doctors here, either. There’s a hospital and a clinic, but the remaining doctor has retired, I think. Maybe one day we’ll have another. In the meantime, we try to make sure we don’t get sick with some weird syndrome from Africa or Malaysia.
Like doctors, handymen are privy to our intimate concerns. We tell them about our clogged pipes, our sloping foundations, our cracked and damaged places, things that won’t “flow” properly, and things that flow too much.
Unlike doctors, handymen aren’t required to give a rap about any of it. They most assuredly do not accept insurance of any kind, not even Medicare. Give them an advance and they’ll disappear into the jowls of a casino.
Part of the reason for the handyguy shortage is that it is a small town, so the “talent” is limited, but it was true in Las Vegas, too. In a big city, there’s plenty of work to go around, but as a job, handyman is low on the list in a place with casino work and lots of offices. Plus, Don was alive and he did a lot of the work himself.
One of the handsomest men I’ve ever seen was a handyman who did some work for us in Vegas. Tall, movie star looks, and very nice. He had eleven grandchildren, and his wife, a small and overweight woman, accompanied him. I didn’t blame her; single women all over Vegas probably heard that standard porno music refrain the second he walked in.
Our first handymen were Tom and Reuben. Since they were working for Don, a man, there didn’t seem to be any trouble. They showed up every day and the house got painted and a few things got fixed. I don’t quibble over pay or anything else. I pay anyone who works for me the day they do the work and I pay them what they ask. Are their wives objecting, perhaps? That would be bizarre. I have four dogs, for crying out loud, and I don’t exactly channel Marilyn Monroe.
To find the ever elusive handyman, I called everyone I had ever met in the town and got names. When none of those names worked out, I took to the streets, collaring city workers and asking clerks in businesses. Eventually, I’ll run through all 2800 people and still have four ceiling fans in boxes.
Each new handyman who comes over elicits the same feelings meeting new boys used to: “I think he could be The One!” Could I envision having drill bits with him? Consulting and shopping with him for affordable flooring? How thrillingly romantic!
Bart, a 65 year old with a geezer beard who rides an Indian motorcycle that sounds like the crack of doom, was the last one who came over. He installed the bathroom sink properly, took off the kick plate so he could fix it the next time, and didn’t show up again. Didn’t answer my texts.
He was a tease; told me all the things he could do, and do them cheaper than the other guy who quoted me a price. And men complain about women being teases. That was just cruel and unusual punishment.
Christmas is coming. I know what I want. Santa has got to know some stuff about fixing things by now, or he’ll have access to handy-elves. I’ll be right in front of the fireplace Christmas morning with a plate of warm cookies and cold milk. That is, if the fridge doesn’t need repair.