Thursday, September 16, 2010

cutting wood

so I had the countertops cut. for that, we drove to a corner of the city I'd never been before. it was an industrial kind of place with a dusty, eerily silent inner yard and a lot of other workshops around that all seemed to be vacated. at the entrance there was a gate complete with a pike, a sign that said PRIVATE and a jovial young man, the porter, who didn't ask a word and opened the gate at once. I hadn't expected this hot-knife-through-butter entry and dialled the shop in panic. I just wanted to tell the porter where we were going, even if he couldn't care less. I didn't remember the name of the company. "What's the name of the company?", I shrieked into the phone. someone at the other end giggled. "I'm coming to have my countertops cut. Where am I going?" the man still didn't answer, instead, the giggle grew into a relaxed, happy laughter.

I teach something called 'Communication' at an American college. this is what I do for a living. I knew instantly it was a breakdown so I niftily disconnected the call. I hate talking to strangers on the phone, especially when they don't talk, just giggle. luckily, the next moment we found the shop. inside there were three young men, smiling and cutting wood panels and a little boy with protruding ears and a pair of very big glasses. like a kid from those Czechoslovakian children's programs we used to watch on TV. he was sweeping wood chips, deep in his thoughts. one of the three men was wearing headphones to keep the noise out. he came up to me and I explained to him what I wanted. he seemed to hear every word, despite the headphones. he was fast and friendly. he cut the wood, and told me it was 500 HUF (=about 2 USD) and at the end he gave me his cell number in case I needed any help in the future. we drove away, happily.

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