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It is a cold and blustery morning in early March as you sit at your kitchen table reading the help wanted ads in the local week end paper. Wrapped in your warmest pajamas, slippers and bathrobe you are still chilled to the bone. The furnace is out again. Thank God the girls are away for the weekend, one at an all weekend sleep over and the other on a school-debating trip. At least they are warm.
Another bill to face, but it can’t be avoided. The Service Company has been called and they assure you that, while the regular staff is off for the weekend, they have a part time person on call that they will dispatch as soon as they can reach him. As you look out the kitchen window at the frozen landscape you marvel at how closely it matches your feelings deep in your soul. Barren, lonely and desolate just about covers it.
Sitting back down at the kitchen table and idly reaching for another Marlboro, you begin to again look through the columns of ads for semi skilled and unskilled workers for sometime that could help augment your income and make ends meet. In many ways you are lucky, two good kids, (about the only good thing that bastard left you) a home, a car, and a job that at least let’s you keep close to even. A few extra dollars each month would help though, even if it were just to pay your internet service provider for the cost of connection to your only real world in cyber space.
As you muse, you hear the doorbell of the service entrance off the kitchen. Padding to the door, you find the service technician patiently waiting there with his billed hat in one hand and his toolbox in the other. His clean pressed twill uniform had his company’s name neatly embroidered over the left-hand pocket and his name stitched under it “Donald.”
* * * * *
“Is this the residence of a Ms. Denise Maori,” he politely asks.
You nod and stand aside so that he can step in out of the cold.
As you close the door behind him you hear him say, “I understand that you are having some kind of problem with your central heating unit.”
“Yes,” you respond, “but I have no idea what the problem is. All I know is that I am frozen.”
He reaches down to his feet and takes off his oily boots and stands them neatly by the door in the boot tray and says:
“Well then, Let’s take a look at it, shall we?”
You take him through the kitchen and down the stairs to where the unit is located.
He puts his toolbox on the floor and neatly lays out what he needs and goes to work. You stand in the background and silently fret wondering how much this is going to cost and how the service company is going to react, in light of the fact that you are already 1 month behind in your account.
After a few minutes you here him say:
“Ah! Here is the problem, the rheostat is bad.”
“How much do they cost?” you blurt out without thinking, the anxiety evident in your voice.
“About $380.00 plus tax and installation he responds but before we do that let’s see what I can do”?
“I just happen to have a broken one in my tool box and I have yours which is not functioning…
* * * * *
You watch as his hands fly. Both units are disassembled in a matter of minutes, parts are interchanged, put back together, and a gizmo, Is stuck back in the furnace. He presses a button and the furnace starts to hum smoothly.
You have never seem anything like that before, wait, yes you did, once you were lonely and bored one night and you were flipping through the channels on the cable and you caught a demonstration of soldiers disassembling and assembling their guns blindfolded, in a contest of speed. That is the only comparison you can make.
“Good as new he says” as he puts the furnace back together and his tools back in the box.
You lead him back up the stairs to the kitchen and go to the counter to get your purse and checkbook.
“How much do I owe you?” you ask with a heavy heart.
“No Charge” he responds.
You are dumbfounded and he immediately sees it in your face.
“Really, no charge. The service call is covered under you basic policy and I was able to make one good part out of two broken parts, I can’t charge you for that. Let’s call it my own little re-cycling program.”
As he begins to put his boots back on at the door you, in a rush of gratitude, blurt out “I don’t suppose you would like a cup of coffee, would you”.
He turns to look at you and you sense that he is going to refuse but you blunder on, “Really, it is no problem I’m just going to make my self another cup of instant.”
He agrees saying “that is indeed very kind of you I left home to do this service call with out eating my breakfast and a cup of coffee would be very nice.”
As you prepare the coffee he sits at the table letting his eyes wander the room taking everything in.
When you place it in front of him in a chipped mug he is grateful and cradles it in both hands. You notice that they are slim, soft and very, very, clean. The nails are manicured and have been buffed. They are kartal escort bayan not the hands of a burner technician, they are of the hands of, you simply don’t know.
“A little artificial sweetener if you have it, just this way if you don’t.”
For the first time you examine this technician in front of you at the table. He is tall, close to 6 feet, soft gray brush cut hair, gold spectacles, fairly slim build, definitely not skinny, but no extra fat. A wedding ring and an expensive Seiko Gold watch.
As you sit and casually chat you are amazed at his command of the English language and his knowledge of any and all things. You talk of the weather, sports, local, regional and national. The local school system. The current job market when he notices to where the paper is opened. You even talk about state politics of which he seems to have a very strong grasp. You talk of the upcoming election campaign and the chance that the current governor, who has raised many contentious issues, can get reelected. Two hours pass and neither of you has even noticed a minute of it. He has not moved a muscle sitting there with his hands folded, his knees crossed, and looking into your face talking to you.
Finally he looks at the clock on the wall and says: “This has been very pleasant but I have an important 3 P.M. commitment that I must keep.”
* * * * *
You blush and apologize for delaying him and escort him once again to the door, and as he puts on his boots, he looks up and says:
“I couldn’t help but notice the fridge, I see that you have children.”
“Yes, two girls who are away for the week end.”
“You’re not wearing a wedding ring?”
“No, I am a divorced woman, just trying to make it on my own.”
“ah, I know this will seem out of place but I have enjoyed our conversation and I think you have too, I was wondering, would you consider joining me on an excursion I have planned this afternoon”
You stutter and stammer and immediately he senses that he has made a misstep.
“I am sorry, I really shouldn’t have asked, it was very forward of me.”
Jesus Christ, your mind screams at you, where did this guy come from. No man today talks like that. ‘Very forward, Good God’. The standard retort to-day is, to bad baby don’t know what your missing, more fish in the sea, see ya.”
In a flash of daring that you didn’t know you had you blurt:
“I would love to.”
“What time should I be ready and what should I wear.”
“Two O’clock would be fine and warm casual clothes would be most appropriate.”
As he proceeds to his service truck all you can think is “most appropriate, Jesus, who talks like that.”
* * * * *
As you close the door the misgivings and doubt begin to set in. You realize that all you know is his first name.
In a brief burst of insight you call the Service Company and ask them if the service man had been dispatched and, when they confirm it, you ask for a brief description. They give it and there is no doubt that it is the same man who just left the house. By this time the company is concerned and adds that he is their most reliable casual worker and they are sure that you will be more than satisfied with him when he arrives.
Well, you think, in for a penny in for a pound, I don’t know his last name so I can’t even call him to cancel.
As it is already after twelve you tidy the house, have a shower, do your hair and nails and dress. Hiking boots, warm socks, heavy jeans, light blouse and heavy winter sweater go on and you lay out your Columbia jacket and a matching tam and scarf.
It is the best you can do given the circumstances.
At precisely two P.M. the doorbell rings and you answer.
There stands Donald or, at least, it should be Donald.
The gentleman is immaculately groomed. Like you, hiking boots, expensive corduroy trousers, a soft green winter sweater over a white turtleneck, a Columbia jacket that matches the sweater and pants, an a jaunty LL. Bean gentleman’s walking hat.
No Service uniform is evident.
You smile and turn and lock the door and he gently escorts you down the walk and assists you into the passenger side of an older model expensive luxury sedan.
As he proceeds to get in you notice that, while old, it is immaculate and in excellent repair.
* * * * *
He starts the car and carefully proceeds down the street and on to the interstate.
The stereo is softly playing classical music and, while your taste runs more to Reba McIntire, there is sometime serene, and settling about it that adds to the mood of well being and contentment that you are beginning to feel.
The conversation is pointless and rambles about this and that and nothing.
Finally, he says,
“I enjoy following the sports teams at Ohio State and the Hockey team is playing at 3 P.M. It is a critical game if they want to advance in the NCAA championships. That is where we are going.”
You escort maltepe have never gone to a hockey game in your life, but somehow that seems like a particularly appropriate think to be doing with this man this afternoon.
As he pulls into the sports complex he drives to the reserve parking area and the young student police instantly lifts the barrier and he passes through with a friendly wave to the boy who smiles back. He drives to the further restricted parking by the door of the complex and another student police, spotting him, removes another barrier from the last remaining parking spot by the door.
As he gets out and comes around to get you he opens the door and you catch part of a conversation.
“…Worried that you were not going to make it to-day. Glad you did professor.”
“Thanks Jimmy, I was pleasantly, if unavoidably, delayed.”
“How’s the studies going?”
“About as good as can be expected, SOS” is the response.
As you get out of the car you sense that the boy looks at you a little strangely but immediately dismiss it.
You enter the rink and are immediately escorted through the turnstiles and are surrounded by thousands and thousands of screaming students.
Donald knows everybody. They smile and grin at him, a kind look here, a quick word there, as you proceed slowly to the seating area behind the home team bench.
As you move through the crowds they seem to magically part, there is not jostling, it is not planned, it is just as if at the very last nano second, the next person senses he is there and moves ever so slightly. As you reach the seating section that he seems to be heading for A stunningly beautiful co-ed leaps to her feet and shouts to him:
“Over here Doctor, we have saved your seat.”
As you proceed down the isle to the third row behind the boards you perceive the consternation of the co-ed. Indeed they have saved his seat, One seat, but ever so quietly you see her equally attractive companion, quickly get up and leave by the other end of the row and now magically there are two seats where before there was only one in this screaming mass of fans.
As you take your seat Donald casually says to the co-ed, “Jan this is friend Denise,” she is my guest this afternoon. She smiles warmly at you but you sense that she is immediately on her guard assessing you, wondering, and sniffing.
She is the epitome of politeness but the fangs are not far from the surface, if you are a threat, but to what, you wonder.
* * * * *
The game begins and the arena turns into a screaming mass of 20,000 drunken college students enjoying a brutal sport. Donald screams and yells with the best of them. Soon you are drawn into the frenzy and are enjoying it as much as him, but he is just as quick to cheer for a good play from the opposing team as he is for the home team even thought it is evident that all know where his true loyalties lay.
At the end of the first period the bedlam dies down and he turns to ask you if you are enjoying yourself. You simply smile, as conversation is difficult in the noise. You have never experienced anything like this. You never had the opportunity to go to University, God, what an experience you must have missed.
As you come out of this momentary revere another pretty co-ed hands Donald a simple tray with a banana, half a tuna fish sandwich, a cup of black coffee with sweeter on the side and simply says here is you snack.
She looks at you and says, “could I bring you something?”
For the first time you realize that in your busy day with the furnace, cleaning the house, and getting ready that you have not eaten breakfast or lunch, You are famished.
You reach down for your purse but gently feel Donald’s hand lightly on the back of your wrist. It is so subtly done that you know nobody noticed but the message was conveyed to you.
“A hamburger and a beer would be lovely.”
Donald eats his snack and magically the tray disappears into the hands of another co-ed that seems to be constantly standing in the background sensing his every need.
* * * * *
As your eyes wander around the arena taking it all in, you are drawn back to reality by another co-ed who hands you a hamburger on a paper plate with some potato chips, a napkin and a cold mug of beer, not a plastic cup.
As you bite into the burger you realize that it is freshly made and put together by hand. This didn’t come from any steam table. Someone, for some reason, went to some trouble. Again your instincts are aroused.
Donald is known and respected and even loved here, but you, you are an intruder. They weren’t expecting you and they don’t know what to think but you are obviously his guest so they are giving you the benefit of the doubt.
The game ends with the home team winning by one goal scored in the last minute of the game. The atmosphere is indescribable. You can’t help but get caught up in the moment. Nothing is as you have ever experienced in your life.
It pendik escort is half an hour before you can even speak to each other. As you slowly begin to make you way to the exit there are more smiles and greeting for Donald and inquisitive stares for you, on Donald’s arm. Somehow, they don’t feel threatening.
As you approach the car you mouth falls open. Approaching Donald is the Governor of the state and his entourage of eager assistants. The governor says: ” nice to see you Donald, I’m looking forward to reading your report when it is finished.” Looking at you he says “nice to see you young lady.” He then quickly moves off to do more glad-handing.
Donald opens the door and helps you in and assists you to fasten the seat belt saying “be careful my dear, you know how it sticks”.
He goes around the car and gets in and proceeds to make his way out of the parking lot and onto the interstate, back the way you came.
He is quiet and withdrawn.
Finally, he says “I am sorry if I appeared rude to you back there and didn’t introduce you to the governor, who is, by the way, an alumnus of the university. I have always believed that if you have nothing kind to say it is best to say nothing at all. You life would not be enriched by having made his acquaintance.”
Donald’s mood then brightens.
“Don’t suppose I could invite you to be my guest at supper. I know a rather pleasant place on the way that serves delicious B.B.Q. “
“Why not” you respond totally lost in the strange experiences that you have enjoyed today. After all how much more bizarre could my day get, you think.
Donald puts into the parking lot of a huge roadside joint.
As you enter the foyer it is packed with students and alumni coming from the game. As you approach the reservations desk you realize that there is more of a chance of a snowball freezing in hell than there is of you getting fed in this dining room to-night.
Donald is oblivious. As the desk man raises his head to snarl an obscenity to Donald about the foolish request that he is about to make, but his face breaks into an infectious grin, and says,
“What a unexpected but pleasant surprise to see you Doctor…and your companion.”
The deskman is flustered by your presence. A moron could see that. Your are not suppose to be there. Period. Any moron could figure that out.
“Pat will be thrilled to see you” he continues,
* * * * *
Just as he says this the biggest man you have ever seem in your life comes into view. He grabs Donald and hugs him and twirls him in the air. This man is a monster. At least 6 foot 10 inches, 340 pounds and arms and legs like tree trunks. He turns to you and you see suspicion fleet through his eyes momentarily before he says “nice to see you young lady.” He takes you hand gently in his to shake it. It feels like you have just shaken hands with King Kong.
“How about supper, professor”?
“Lovely Pat, if it is no problem”.
Pat leads the two of you across the room to a table for eight, which is marked reserved. The sign disappears and the 6 extra place settings are quickly removed.
Quickly a heaping plate of ribs is placed before you accompanied by a frosty mug of cold beer. It is not fancy but, beyond any doubt, is the best ribs you have ever had. Donald, on the other hand, has a small steak and salad and a glass of milk. He eats fastidiously, but slowly, enjoying every mouth full.
Talk is of inconsequential things but always pleasant and stimulating.
He tells you Pat’s story which is rather intriguing. The story of a college athlete who made it as an All-American and signed a monstrous pro contract with the old Cleveland Browns. Of the first pro game he played and destroying his left knee. Of coming to him 6 months later, after major surgery on his knee, asking for advice. He had 6 million dollars in his bank account and no future at 21.
Donald explains that had looked around and noticed this roadhouse, ideally located, and up for sale. It seem ideal, close to the university, his university background in sports, his pro fame…the ingredients were all there. He made a few contacts among the alumni and suddenly the 12 million-dollar asking price was met. Pat became the major owner but the other owners give him the advice so that he doesn’t make any major mistakes.
* * * * *
As you look around you conclude, correctly, it is a gold mine.
As the meal and the conversation wind to a close you see the Governor and his party of eight arrive and see that there is a disagreement and angry words exchanged, but the Governor, after glaring in your direction, leaves in a huff.
Finished your meal you leave the restaurant, get into the car, and quietly proceed back to you home.
As you get out of the car he comes around and, placing his hand near your elbow walks with you up the icy walk, not touching you, but there just in case you might slip. When you reach the door you fumble with you keys and when you get it open you turn to face the inevitable only to find, his hand outstretched to shake yours.
“Thank you for a wonderful day. It has been a very enjoyable day for me. I can’t tell you when I have enjoyed myself more. I am indeed fortunate that your furnace went out. Fate was kind to me today.”
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