The doorbell rang at about 8:30 yesterday morning. From the side light windows I could see a man and woman standing at the front door. We were expecting them. Well, I should say we were expecting someone to come to install our new bedroom carpet. We opened the door and the man said, “Carpet”.
The two of them quickly came into the house and immediately headed for the bedroom. They knew the layout of the house, they said.
As they brushed passed me, the woman said, “There are four of us.”
“Two more out in the car,” she called over her shoulder.
The other two were a young woman and a young man. They looked to be in their early 20’s. They came in carrying what I assumed was carpet installation paraphernalia.
The woman stood outside the bedroom, looking into the room. She shook her head and said, “Wow!”
Huh! I thought we had done a pretty good job of emptying out the bedroom. All that was left was the heaviest treadmill in the world, the biggest 1930’s depression era vanity (which includes the largest vanity mirror in the world), a huge matching 1930’s dresser (which includes the world’s second largest mirror) and a chifforobe. Oh, yeah and a queen size bed.
The first thing that struck me was how quickly each of them moved. Their pace could easily be described as running.
There was a lot of this running going on. Runnning in and out, bringing stuff in from the truck. Running to fetch this tool or that.
After about an hour, with the exception of the treadmill, and the bed, they had moved the rest of the furniture into the bathroom. The bathroom, which is less than half the size of the bedroom. I don’t know how they did it, but they did.
The next thing they did was rearrange our living room to make room for the bed. Then, after taking the bed apart, they moved it into the living room. They laid the box spring, mattress and frame up against one the living room sofas.
With Rico on my lap, I sat watching from the other living room sofa. It turned out to be the best seat in the house to observe what would turn out to be an interesting, to say the least, six hour production.
The yelling started almost immediately. At first I thought that perhaps he had a hearing problem and that’s why he talked loudly. But then, as I started to tune into what he was saying, I realized that he was indeed yelling.
Phrases like, “What’s wrong with you?”
“How many times have I told you to do it this way!”
The man was tall and lanky. His gait was quick but tilted. His worn and weathered appearance gave the impression of an older man. I realized later that thirty-five years of kicking down carpet had taken its toll.
During a brief lull in the activity, I had an opportunity to start a conversation with the woman.
“Is this a family affair?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” she said.
She was a pretty woman, with bouncy curls and a pleasant smile.
He was her husband, the young woman was her daughter, and the young man was their nephew.
She told me that the regular crew wasn’t available that day, so the boss sent them to do this job.
“Normally, they don’t send “him” out very often anymore to do these installs,” she said.
“He’s too much of a perfectionist.”
According to his wife, he constantly complained that he couldn’t get good help anymore.
I soon found out why.
She then told me that as the day goes on, he will probably get more testy.
I couldn’t imagine how much more testy he could get.
She was right though, as the day worn on, the yelling got louder and quite frankly more abusive.
When he would call for a certain tool, all three of his “helpers” would literally jump and run.
A typical barrage went something like this:
“Look at what you just did!”
“How do you expect me to get over there, when you put that in the way?”
“You’ve been doing this for three years and you can’t remember what I told you!”
This behavior lasted throughout the whole day. A six hour onslaught of nasty, demanding, venomous attacks.
I started to feel that maybe I was being filmed and would later find out that I was the victim of a cruel prank, or the subject of a Candid Camera episode. Perhaps, I thought, John Quinones would come walking through the door and ask “What would you do?”
Confrontations make me anxious.
Even though they might not recognize what effect this man’s assaults may have on them, I could tell by the behaviors of the woman, her daughter and nephew, it most certainly did.
They finished up at around 2:00. The last thing they had to do was re-hang the closet and bathroom doors that they had taken off.
This was the grand finale!
Nasty man: “Okay, let’s go. Where are the doors?”
Wife: “We put them out in the sunroom?”
NM: “You did WHAT?” “Who told you to do that?” “Did you ask me?” “You never put doors out in the cold!” “Next time, you ask me!”
As they left I looked closely at each of them.
The nephew and daughter walked by, with their heads down and did not make eye contact.
The wife cheerfully waved.
Surprisingly, even though he didn’t look at us directly, he wished us “Happy Holidays” and told us to “Have a good afternoon.”
Purely, by force of habit, I said, “And you do the same.”
Needless to say I was not happy about this man coming into my house and behaving the way that he did. The carpet seems to be installed properly, so I have no complaints about that.
But they were not very neat and left quite a mess.
However, I don’t think I will mention my displeasure to the owner of the flooring business. I wouldn’t want Mr. Nasty to take it out on his “helpers.”
The painters are here today. They are a quiet pair.