Archive for December, 2020

The Little Man from Honduras

Friday, December 4th, 2020

I was pottering around the front yard on Saturday afternoon and pondering how I could trim my hedge which is over 15 feet high when I noticed a transit van trolling past very slowly. Next thing I know the van had turned around and was now parked outside my property. Out jumped a little man in white overalls and baseball cap who proceeded to shuffle tentatively down my drive.

I told myself to behave in a  nonchalant fashion as he approached me, but to be on my guard if he drew a knife, gun or paint brush. The paint brush came to mind because he had smatterings of paint on his overalls and a sign on his van indicated he did painting and too many other things to mention.

He bid me good day in broken English and proceeded to point at my driveway. Maybe I was slow on the uptake, but we were lost in translation and I was becoming very frustrated and I blurted out: “What do you want?”  He somehow cobbled a few words of English together and asked if I wanted my driveway pressure washed. That must have taken a huge effort on his part because his English was worse than my Spanish which is limited to si, gracias,  por favor and no mas ( thanks to Roberto Duran.)

I attempted to explain to him that I usually  did the job myself at which time my wife joined me and she can speak Spanish reasonably well. They exchanged pleasantries, and I was beginning to have second thoughts and blurted out again: “how much would you charge?” His eyes lit up in delight and said he could do it for $200. I then enquired when he could perform the dastardly deed and he managed to conjure up Monday at 9am. We shook hands and he left with a big smile on his face before turning around to say: “si you Monday!!”

Now, those not familiar with pressure washing, it plays havoc with your lower back if you are a reasonable height, but the little man from Honduras was too short to cut cabbage and would merely bend at the knees  to complete the job.

It rained cats and dogs on Sunday and leaves were falling like dollar bills when the stock market crashed. My wife assured me she had checked the weather forecast and the rain would ease up over the weekend. I woke up Monday morning and looked outside. Admittedly the rain had stopped but the driveway was quite wet and hundreds of leaves were stuck to the surface, and it was quite chilly. I thought to myself that surely he would not turn up in this weather.

There was no sign of the little man at 9am, but my wife said that Latinos were always late and to be patient. She was on the mark because his van pulled up outside around 9.45am. I urged her to ask him did he want to return another day when the weather improved, but he shrugged his shoulders and said he would do it.

An hour had elapsed and he was making decent progress, but suddenly I couldn’t hear the machine running. I looked out the window and he was frantically pulling at the cord on the machine and oil was trickling down the driveway from where he was standing. I stepped out of the house and asked him what was wrong. It was his turn to blurt and he said repeatedly: “oil, oil, oil……..” I let him have two bottles of my high quality oil and immediately regretted it  when he cried out: ” la maquina es basura” which translates to “the machine is trash” according to my wife.

He said to my wife in Spanish that he had only used the crappy machine twice and he looked like the sky had fallen in on him. But have no fear, Jamesy’s here. I offered him my machine and his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. My wife and I pulled the machine from out of hibernation and it started first time, purring like a Honda which it is. Only to find the nozzle on my spray gun was broken. But all was not lost when The Little Man from Honduras stepped up to the plate, and miraculously attached his gun and nozzle to my machine, international cooperation at its finest.

Following an eventful hour of extreme emotions, he was back on track  and completed the job without further interruption. It was a job well done and would have been worth every penny if he hadn’t been forced to use my machine, oil and fuel and of course my water. To make matters worse, my darling wife gave him a tip, and in doing so made one little man from Honduras very happy.