Monday, August 08, 2005

Mr. Rawls

The garbage disposal on our sink clogged up and stopped working completely. Despite my best efforts to trouble shoot the problem by skillfully turning the switch from on to off slowly and then flipping it really fast, I failed to fix it. That's when I realized that I'd need to call the only handyman that our landlord uses. The man named Mr. Rawls.

Mr. Rawls is a soft-spoken, old, black man that wears overalls and speaks in a slow southern drawl. Emphasis on the old part. Mr. Rawls drives a rather large, beat-up van that looks like a fat prune that' wrinkled and browned from being too long in the sun. The van is piled high with "junk." It's like an episode of Sanford & Son on wheels. I don't mean a few rusty hubcaps in the back or a pile of old rope on the passenger seat. I mean it is "completely filled" with junk. I will have to take a photo the next time I have the opportunity. Every cubic centimeter of the vehicle is packed to the gills with papers, lawnmower parts, electrical clocks, rubber tubes, old tools, part of what my friend thinks might be the Lost Arc of the Covenant. Archaeologists and historians would have a field day digging through that van. Perhaps they'd find some fossilized animal remains from the Cretaceous Era under one of the many broken speakers wrapped in duct tape.

Mr. Rawls is a very nice man, but the reason our Landlord employs him is because he's incredibly cheap. I believe the term is Pennywise and Poundfoolish. Why have something done right, when you can have it done cheaply instead. I am always cordial and polite to Mr. Rawls because he works hard and always has a kind word for everybody. When Krankiboy ages into Krankioldgeezer I am not likely to be jolly. I'll have 50 more years of stuff to be irritated about.

Me: "How are you Mr. Rawls?"
Mr Rawls: "I an ole mahn. I am old. But I git around."

I can't believe that the silver lining on his cloud of life is that he can "git around."

We live on the second floor and I feel horribly guilty making this kindly old gentleman climb a long flight of stairs. I feel like a cruel child pouring salt in the path of a snail. It makes me feel just awful that I don't have the tools or the knowledge to fix these things myself.

I always offer him some water or lemonade or ice-tea because I have no idea how to make small talk with the man. We have nothing in common. I suppose I could say "Hey, Mr. Rawls, I notice that your ancient van is still stuffed to the ceiling with all manner of weird parts, pieces and crap. How the fuck do you find anything?" or maybe "I'm curious, what was it like to be a young southern man during the Civil War? Were you rooting for the North or what?"

Mr. Rawls, sweet man that he is, takes ages to fix something. Not only that but he always manages to fix one thing and cause some other problem in the "fixin" process.

"Welp, I fixed that leak 'n the sink for ya." And yes, sure enough the leak is fixed, however now if you want to turn on the hot water faucet it makes a screeching sound like parrot being violently tortured.

I'll see if I can snap some pictures of the Rawlsmobile.

Hey, that's an idea... Why don't you send me a picture of something interesting or weird with a short blurb about it and I'll post a caption. Pretty please? I'll be your best friend.

And while you think of what image (original or internet swiped) that you'll send me, please crank up your speakers and groove to this classic version of the Sanford and Son theme song. It's the ring tone on my cell.


BEVIS said...

I've sent you a bunch of photos. Let me know if they didn't come through, and I'll re-send them one at a time or something.

kranki said...

I got em. Thanks.

cattermune said...

Does Mr Rawls wear polyester shirts with sweat rings under the arms and at the neck in the winter time? And ancient yellowed singlets (you guys would call 'em wife beaters, us chesty bonds) with the same stains, yet soggier, in the summer?
And neck skin folds that never really seem clean?
Cos I've had several guys just like that in buildings I've lived in in Brisbane (Australia). Some had tidier vans than others. All were ancient. A hidden race like the Romany, roving the world, doing crappy repairs?

kranki said...

Make no mistake. Mr. Rawls is an ancient old man but devastatingly sexy in his own unique way.

He's from the South so the heat and humidity in LA are negligable I imagine.

Did I spell any of that correctly? I have my shirt off and was distracted by my own nipples.