Note No. 41

January 5, 2010

Every once in awhile, I get a bee in my bonnet.

Today is one of those occasions.

It’s not that it is a bad day. By all standards, it is a fantastic one: my dad is coming to visit for two weeks; I talk to two of my best friends before I even leave the house; then I open the front door and there is this adorable, brown dog, who has followed two guests home, and she is all shnuggly and wants to do shmoochy face (until I see the fleas) and then she even follows me on my walk for a good 20 minutes, running ahead of me every so often just to make me smile; and the sky is blue for the first time in a few days and the air is fresh and the clouds are all puffy and windblown and people are all bundled up and skooched together on their motor scooters as they whiz by, faces all smiling and buried in hoodies.

Yup, it is a great day.

Until I pass a manhole and note how it is sealed, as it should be, and then I am reminded of the neighbor’s one that is not sealed, because the electrician still has not done so, since he opened it up how long ago? So I am reminded of this, which makes me recall that noise that the unsealed manhole cover makes every time someone steps on it, which is at least once an hour, and then I realize I am scowling —stomping down the street and making the Goerig grimace, which I vowed to stop doing LAST New Year’s.

That’s it. I’m fed up.

I get back downtown and stop by the staircase next to the navy base, putting on my battle anthem to do my three minutes and 41 seconds of step aerobics until I’m practically dizzy, and then I sail home and run upstairs, taking a cold shower, just for effect, and putting on all my red accessories for more effect.

And then I am downstairs in the office, seeking out my evidence for the case: paystubs and dates, because it’s time to go into the courtroom now. It was Dec. 15 when he did the job and now it’s Jan. 5.


He answers on the third ring.


“Good day. It’s Margaret.”

“Hello, Señorita Margaret. At your orders.”

“Yeah, well, listen: that manhole cover? It’s still not sealed and there are people walking on it every day and yesterday there were even kids jumping on it and it’s going to open one day and then someone is going to fall in and I’m not going to have that be my fault.”

“Okay. I’m on my way.”

“Well, if you’re not here in an hour, I’m going to do it myself, because it’s not that hard a job. It’s just that you’re going to owe me 200 pesos from the 1000 I already paid you to do the whole job.”

“You did it already?”

“No. But I’m going to if you’re not here in an hour and you’re going to owe me 200 pesos.”

“Okay. I’m on my way.”

And I do not shout. I do not even raise my voice. I just let the words flow out in one long stream, never forgetting to use the polite usted form of address, never uttering a curse word (though there are some good ones in Spanish), just telling him like it is.

And I am kicking ass. I know I am because I call him at 9:12 and at 9:37, he is there, spatula in hand, ready to seal my manhole.
(Hey, you in the back. Stop snickering.)

So, ladies and gentlemen, could we please have a round of applause for Mr. Stephen R. Covey?

Thank you. Thank you very much.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Katie
    Sep 14 2010


    It is now 1/4 to 1 in the afternoon and I am STILL reading. Does this make me sound like a stalker? That is NOT the case, I promise. Anyways, this story is great. One of my favorites. I am not sure why, but it makes be want to stand up and applaud!

    Katie Milton

    • Sep 14 2010

      I love it. Thank you for being such an enthusiastic fan. If it is stalking, it’s flattering.


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