If I knew how well paid a handyman’s job is, I would have studied plumbing or carpentry in college.
Even a short crash course in learning how to mend a leaking tap would have been of immense help. I would have expanded into fixing showers, drawers, sinks, cupboards, doors, rickety tables, wobbly chairs, stools and so on. The list is endless.
Come to think of it, I would be so much in demand that by now I would have a neat pile of money that I would have deposited in a fancy bank where they talk in hushed whispers.
I would be one of their wealthiest customers and they would give me the red carpet treatment, and everybody would hang onto every word I speak and any gesture I make.
But alas! I missed that opportunity in life and am now at the receiving end of the handymen’s total apathy concerning me and my woes.
I don’t know about other places, but in Amman, these experts are the most sought after and have their phones forever emit an engaged tone.
Even when you get through to them, their appointment diary is so blocked that if you are very lucky, the earliest they come by is three weeks. It is easier to get a slot at the dentist’s than have the handyman over on a house call!
This is not to say that dentists in Jordan are an idle lot. Not at all, it’s just that the other professionals are busier.
So, most reluctantly, one has to go the DIY route. What does the abbreviation stand for, you might want to know. For the uninitiated the three letters signify, “do it yourself”. So do what myself? Well, anything and everything to do with carpentering, plumbing or electrical work that the ever-absent handyman would have done if he ever showed up.
When an international hardware store opened its branch locally, I couldn’t wait to be there. True to its reputation, the shop had all that one could possibly think of while putting a house together. Wide aisles, clearly demarcated and various sections, it seemed like child’s play. From fancy drills, nails, hooks, hammers, toolboxes and ladders to bathtub plugs, doorstoppers, shelves, collapsible shoeboxes-it had everything and more.
With an extremely helpful salesman pushing my shopping cart, I bought things I didn’t even know existed.
Back home, after unloading the car, I noticed the photo that had come back from the framers. It had been lying propped against the floor for a fortnight because the carpenter was too busy to pass by and put just one nail on the wall.
With my newly purchased DIY kit, I thought I would try my hand at it.
Jerome K Jerome’s story was clear in my memory and I did not want to end up as Uncle Podger. Without much fuss, I asked the domestic helper to assist me in hanging the picture. The stepladder was brought for me; the pencil was handed, along with the nail and the hammer. I marked the point and positioned the nail appropriately.
But the minute I swung the first blow, the front door opened and I heard my spouse call out my name. The helper turned instinctively, leaving me to wobble on the top step and it was all over.
To cut a long story short, eventually Aunt Polly did hang the picture!