Saturday, November 17, 2012

Being a Stray


The generator sounds louder when it is in your kitchen. Yep, they are back. Those contractors. Those guys in there sweat hoodies and baggy jeans trampling all over your space. Those guys whose foreman speaks to you then turns and instructs them in another language. Those guys who maybe…maybe have a high school education. Those guys who haul around power tools like they were weapons. Those guys who you don’t ask to see their green card. Those guys who could set your house on fire and then walk away. Those guys who last week were cutting grass or nailing on a roof or picking yesterdays crops and now they are here. Those are the guys who you would not let your daughter date but will trust them to manipulate your most expensive purchase.
Oh you know the guys. Sure you do. You call the number in the phone book (if you remember what that is) or search the web or download the app for a contractor to come by and give an estimate on a project you cannot do or are not willing to do or do not have the tools to do or are unsure of the help-yourself book instructions or have tried it before and it failed.
So a time and date is set and as any good salesman, the door is knocked on at the appropriate time. A clean-cut guy in a jacket with the contractors name on it introduces himself. He looks like he could have been just graduated from college or released from jail, but he is clean-cut and acceptable and perhaps competent to view the job request and make a reasonable estimate. His phone always rings while he is checking the measurements and writing down on a pre-designed form. The good ones will make an estimate on the spot while others have to go back to the office. Maybe the calculator is back in the office or maybe he has to check with his boss on what the cost would be. Either way he leaves with a confident handshake that he and his company will be the best to accomplish your needs.
Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of encounters with contractors and have seen some remarkable variations. Some will sketch down a bunch of numbers and get uncomfortable when you suggest there are other bids for the job. Some think they can “buffalo” the contract and want to sign on the spot. Some overprice when compared to others and some just don’t call back.
Having worked with sales people most of my life, I understand what a difficult job that is to ask for money, but there is a certain skill set to accomplishing the goal.
So after a month of no call backs, or “I’m too busy” or overpriced bids, I decide to go with Mike. I call him and get his message machine and he calls me back and gets my message machine and I call him back and finally he answers. We discuss a plan of attack and an estimated time for the work to be done. Mike suggests he comes by with the foreman to examine the job site and choose the final materials to be used.
The definition of a stray is to wander off, become separated from group, move casually, digress from subject, depart from accepted standards, meander, wander about aimlessly, etc.
The definition sounds most foreboding yet it is not that bad. This is what life is all about, if you choose to live it.
There are always rules and traditional means that are required to be followed to fit in with the masses, but then there are those who stray.
Now wandering aimlessly sounds rather disappointing, but so few have a goal set out to seek so many just stray and accepts what occurs.
There are not as many stray animals in my neighborhood now but I used to take them in. They didn’t have a name or a history but stumbled onto my doorstep and were well received and taken care of.
Actuality most of my relationships were with strays. Those special souls who are searching for something they cannot find.
There is another definition of stray where a one who has made a promise to abide to another in emotional and physical bonds decides to break that promise and seek another. I personally don’t know how that works.

1 comment:

Art said...

This is great. Your definition works. Note that as a bond-breaker, I can say that's not so good...

For animals, it's sad because they really can't care for themselves. A dog ain't a fox or a wolf.