Friday, May 01, 2009

The Engineer (Birthday Part 3)

The engineer was kind enough to phone me to explain that he was running later than expected and I thanked him for letting me know. He arrived an hour or so after he’d called. I was still sat by the window watching the landlords’ idiot son struggle with the overgrown garden.
I bounced down the stairs in anticipation when I saw his van arrive. The engineer stayed in his van for 5 minutes so I was forced to converse with landlords’ son. He was packing up slowly stating that he would get his father to arrange to get the garden finished.

I looked at the mess he’d made. It looked slightly better than before but it was a poor job to say the least, and he was ill equipped to deal with some of the thicker weeds which remained intact but squashed from the weight of the lawnmower. I reported what the ‘mouse man’ had said and he raised his eyebrows in faux interest whilst stuffing a large bin liner with some of the grass cuttings. Whilst I was wasting my time talking to this imbecile, the Virgin Media Engineer walked up the drive with a cardboard box and tool kit in hand. I recognised him from a previous visit, in fact I was pretty sure it was the guy who originally installed the system, though I couldn’t be sure. I led the way up the stairs.

He insisted on wearing some covers for his shoes before entering our living room. I insisted that he didn’t need to do this, however he was insistent than I; stating that it was his company’s policy.
After covering his footwear, he picked up his tool box and it tipped over onto the floor, spilling dozens of little screw, nails, and other TV repairman type paraphernalia. I helped him clear it up and he looked grateful for the help and also a little discomfited. Some of the screws landed near a box of mouse poison and it was my turn to feel embarrassed.

He had a quick look at the problematic apparatus, and after testing it with a futuristic looking but scratched and beaten up telephone, he whipped out modern looking replacement from the cardboard box he had brought with him, and proceeded to remove the wires from the existing unit. I offered him a cup of tea and he graciously accepted.

My better half was in the kitchen baking scones- she had intended to bake a cake in honour of my birthday, however as I had made one for hers the previous month and it took up far too much energy and time, so I was content with the scones.
I brought him his drink.
I stood arms folded and chatted to him on a number of matters, some related to the faulty equipment and other topics of conversation had nothing to do with it.

The more I thought about it, this wasn’t the chap who installed our system, that bloke talked incessantly about sport, and after spotting one of my guitars, he blabbed on about his friend’s band who played weddings and various working men’s club in the North West. I remember very clearly as he said that his friend’s band were paid £900 for a one hour and a half set of cover versions, whilst I had just played a gig in London in conjunction with the release of our latest single and we were only paid £50, not that I told him this. That gobshite had me talking like I used to when I worked on the building site and various factories; with an over exaggerated Yorkshire accent and swearing and cursing unnecessarily, however with the gentleman currently working hard to ensure I don’t spend the whole God damned bank holiday weekend without television, was quiet and I felt I could be myself.
Soon enough it was working and I resisted calling him a beautiful person.

I must have thanked him several times before waving him off at the door. As he walked down the drive I noticed that he was still wearing the shoe covers and as he got to his van I saw that he’d noticed this and berated himself under his breath.

The landlords’ son was still there packing up his equipment very slowly. He has a skulking and creepy way of walking, let alone the fact that he’s particularly unusual in his appearance.

I asked in a friendly manner if he was heading to the tip with the grass cuttings to which he replied with a non committal ‘yes’.

“Would you mind taking this Christmas tree with you please- it’s been here for ages and I have no idea who’s it was” I asked.

I pointed to the dead Christmas tree. It was approximately four feet high and had shed most of its pines. I had moved it to the side of the porch stairs when I had spent a good 40 minutes in the garden trying to remove the melted wheelie bin from the garden wall in mid January last.
“Oh…I don’t want to uproot it, I don’t know who’s it is” He said with surprising defiance.

I looked at the dead tree, then looked back at him in that stupid jumper and then back at the tree and for the hundredth time, resistant the urge to call him a dick head.
I lifted the tree with my right hand and raised my eyebrows.

“Oh” He said and walked towards me and I handed him the tree. He skulked off down the drive way.

I shook my head and shut the door and trudged up the stairs back to the flat towards the smell of freshly baked scones and mouse poison.


Television- Venus

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