...on a Tuesday, too early to make one’s self a stiff drink? Well yes, probably. That is why I waited until 5:00.
The same young man (I’ll call him the Worker) that waterproofed the terrace on Monday returned the next day at noon. He climbed out onto the tiled roof, just outside our kitchen and dining room windows, and appeared to access the situation. When he didn’t come back in after 10 minutes I took a peek. There he sat, leaning up against the wall, on his cell phone…where he continued to stay for another 20 minutes. He finally came in, made the hand motion for eating, and left.
Now when the Worker first arrived, his Supervisor was with him and he communicated that the work should be completed about 3:30; at which time I would have to pay 2,500 Rupees. (Note: Our landlord had already couriered over the agreed upon amount of 2,000.) I corrected him and he replied with the standard tilting of his head from side to side, otherwise known as the head bobble .
So there I was, at 12:30, wondering how in the world the roof would get cleaned, have time to dry, and then have any cracks filled and sealed in three hours…with the Worker at lunch. I quickly brushed that thought aside because I knew, even if it wasn’t until the next day, it would get done. What I then turned my attention to was ‘how’ it was going to get done; how would the Worker clean the years of dirt and bird excrement off the roof without a water source nearby? After contemplating this for a bit I guessed at what he would do and then came up with a solution.
The Worker returned about 2:00, went out on the terrace, and proceeded to fill a bucket with water. He then walked through the apartment, climbed out the window and threw it onto the roof…and this is exactly what I presumed he would do. Now I can only guess at how many buckets it would take to rinse the area, but to actually get it clean? I grabbed the garden hose from the terrace, rigged it to the spigot in the kitchen, and put the other end through the kitchen window…along with a scrub brush.
Now one would think he would take the hose and spray while scrubbing. Alas, no. He put the hose into the bucket. Frustrated, I climbed out onto the roof and demonstrated how he could hold the hose with one hand, while brushing with the other. After climbing back in, I turned to watch and what did I see? The hose in the bucket. What’s another word for ‘frustrated’? Perhaps exasperated? Whatever it is, I was. I climbed back onto the roof, took the bucket and emptied it, and then threw it into the dining room. I then climbed back in and left him to figure it out...and no, I wasn’t at the point of wanting that drink yet.
Close to an hour later, after it was reasonably clean, he came in and motioned for the bucket. I didn’t think he needed it, but conceded. After a few fills and tosses he seemed happy and came in to wait for it to dry. Now because I had let him watch TV the day before while the terrace dried, he assumed it was okay to do so again. He got himself settled on the sofa and changed the channel. (Uh, I was watching something!?!) At 3:50 the roof looked dry so I ‘interrupted’ him and communicated this. He got up, took a look and said ‘nay’. Apparently it needed another 10 minutes, which just happened to coincide with when his show ended. It’s around this time that I start thinking of making myself a drink.
He quickly filled the gaps, came back in and started talking in Hindi. Having no clue as to what he was saying, I called Paul at the office to put someone on the line to translate. After a back-and-forth I was told that he was finished and I just needed to pay for the work. I gave him the money, had him sign a receipt and tried to escort him to the door; but he wouldn’t leave. Instead he smiled, pointed at the staircase and said something in Hindi. I shrugged my shoulders with my hands out, indicating I didn’t understand. He then started going down the stairs to where our bedrooms are.
It is at this point that I am ready for a stiff one…and not from him. I yelled, “Nay!” and pointed toward the door. As he was walking up the stairs I opened the door and waved my arm indicating for him to leave, which he did.
Now I know this story is a bit lengthy, but I’m not quite done. Five minutes later, the doorbell rings. It is the Worker and the Supervisor. Apparently the sealer still needed to be applied to the areas that had been filled. I grudgingly let them in and leave the door to my apartment open. The job is quickly done, but before they leave the Supervisor puts his thumb to his mouth (the gesture for drinking) and says, “Pani”. I gave him a bottle of water and ushered them out the door.
It is now 5:00. I grabbed the bottle of vodka from the cabinet and poured some into a glass…and then I added a bit more.