screwing around, might as well blog

Everybody knows I have this "almost a month off from work" and have already gone a tad unstable on day #2, so I might as well tell a story. I'm verbose and like to ramble, using many commas. :p

My furnace/air-conditioning unit broke down about a year ago, so I bought a new one, the most expensive one the company had, and it comes with a 12 year warranty on the whole thing, labor included! The central part, and the most expensive piece, the heat exchanger, has a 20 year warranty. Can you imagine that? I'll be nearly done here on Earth by the time that warranty expires. It wasn't that much more than the cheaper units, and I liked the idea of not having to pay anything if it fails after so many years, plus they had 12 months same-as-cash financing.

Anyway, as part of the deal for buying the expensive "Cadillac" unit, though it's not made by Cadillac suprisingly, I get a semi-annual (that means twice a year) inspection and check-up of the unit, kind of like going to the doctor for a physical. Today was my day for the check-up.

The technician called and asked if he could come 2 hours earlier than the scheduled appointment as a job had canceled and he was now free. I detected an accent in his English. More on this later.

About 30 minutes later there was a soft tap at the door and he was there, waiting. He looked really shy, and seemed to get annoyed at my overly wordy and friendly greeting. For some reason I sized him up as emotionally needy and decided to probe and engage him in as much conversation as possible as his schedule would permit.

It hit me as odd, but he immediately asked me to try to guess where he was from, saying, "you hear my accent, don't you?" I picked a country at random and said, "Latvia". He said, "Wow! Not bad, but incorrect". I knew I was on to something, so I started guessing what countries I could think of that are over in that area: Russia, Belarus (I love the sound of that name), Lithuania. He then said, "I am from the former USSR". I was perplexed as to why he would be that vague and use the name "USSR", which for me, brings on memories of the Cold War, or the Beatles song, "Back in the USSR". Was he looking for me to talk about communism, Brezhnev, Nixon, or whatever? Finally he said he was from the Ukraine, but had lived near the North Pole and in Moscow. I then launched into a discussion of my Internet friends from "the former USSR" who are so cool and post so many pictures that I enjoy. I talked of my love of the beauty of Moscow and how I would like to go there, you know, the usual things you'd talk about with a furnace technician. He seemed to get sadder and sadder the more I talked. I got the impression that his dream of living in America did not include servicing furnaces. I mean, being a furnace technician is not a bad job, but maybe "over there" he had been a doctor or an engineer, and had hoped for something a little similar here. You never know where people are coming from in their lives. Maybe he even "did time" (means incarceration) near the North Pole? I'll never know.

He did his stuff and walked softly and shyly back to his truck and left. I continued to sip my coffee and surf on my opera.

That's my story for today, day #2. Maybe I'm overthinking things.

11 responses to “screwing around, might as well blog

  1. You really have a lot of free time dont you …. :p Its nice to talk to people and make observations though. You probably inadvertently brightened his day too.

  2. When the technician came to check my heater (that only makes heat) he was a boy from somewhere around here and FAT, I mean fat. Since it was summer and he was sweating a lot at some point I got worried he could get sick while working so I brought a fan in the heater room and I pointed the air on him. I then took him some water to drink. He survived and then left. On a side note, in the latest 15 years we got a big wave of immigrants but they come mostly from Africa and they aren't much qualified. Egyptians own almost every pizza place in town. Many Arabs and Albanians work in constructions. I guess the african blacks instead work mostly in factories.

  3. Maybe you can send me some of the Egyption pizza! The pizza around here isn't very good. :yuck: The big chains, Papa Johns, Dominos, Pizza Hut, I find their pizza bland and boring. The little places, I guess being starved for money, have a hard time putting out a good product or attracting enough business.A story about something that bothers me some:I have to do a lot of driving, so I'm always watching the advertising billboards along the highway to find hotels and places to eat. It is usually hotels and restaurants (most frequently McDonald's), that will sometimes put an American flag in the ad with the words "American Owned". Immediately it makes me feel uneasy due to thinking about what they are trying to say in a sideways manner. What does "American Owned" mean? Does that mean they won't be brown, or have "funny" accents? Will they be white and have a cross on a chain around the neck? People can be American citizens (or Italian citizens), and really look and act like they are from somewhere else. We all know that. Are the adverts trying to say that the American owners feel that their industry is overly dominated by people from India or Mexico, for example?Rather than put myself through all those feelings, I usually stay or eat somewhere else. I don't think they mean harm, but there's no way to advertise in such a manner and not look a little bad to a thinking person.I think we all try to educate ourselves about racism and xenophobia, and try to actively fight it and keep it out of our being. It *is* challenging when you see a dramatic influx of people who are different. Maybe there are so many coming so fast that your job is in danger, or your home. What then? You will be challenged, and you'll have to make decisions about how you are going to live your life.Ahhh, these universal issues!

  4. Here there isn't any of those chains for pizza or food in general. There is only MacDonalds, if you call it food. Pizza is made by little corner shops or restaurants. Actually there are different kind of pizza, the real one is protected by the law, I mean you must use some ingredients and cook it in an oven with a fire made with wood, following the rules.About the issues with immigrants, probably you should consider that US and Europe are two competely different environment. While US is somehow an "artificial" Nation, built since the very beginning by immigrants from all over the world, Europe is a place where people are connected to their little town by generations. It is difficult to explain without starting a never ending description of the latest 3000 years. Now, the problem we are facing today is made by several elements. First of all the events of the '900 lead most Europeans to reject their past, both because of the colonial control over other nations and because the ideologies. Then, in Europe there is a strong influence of the socialist/communist politics that for its own nature proposes the destruction of the old society to build a new universal over-national one.On top of this difficult situation we got an huge immigration in few years, especially in Italy (here where I live there are schools with over 30% of non-italian kids). These immigrants aren't coming from a similar culture so it is difficult to integrate, both because Europe is not about integrating differences but the exact opposite and because they don't want to integrate, because it would mean to recognize european "values" and discharging theirs.All this is difficult to handle.

  5. All this is difficult to handle.

    It really is! I don't fault people or places too much if it doesn't go completely smoothly.There are small towns here where, *virtually overnight*, all the signs, businesses, conversation on the street, etc., has changed from English to Spanish. It's easy to fault people and say, "racist", but such dramatic change so rapidly will cause friction, especially if it involves income or things close to home. When the factories start discharging workers and dropping wages, it becomes harder for people to "love thy neighbor".

  6. I don't think your latinos are planning to bomb a train full of people in name of God.

  7. Have you ever seen the movie "Gangs of New York"?

  8. Just looked it up. I need things to do. I can rent this nearby.

  9. Probably for now it will just be the occasional house burning down, some fights, maybe a shooting or two.

  10. Have you ever seen the movie "Gangs of New York"?

    Rented it and have watched disc #1. Will do #2 tomorrow night. That movie is LONG, but enjoying it so far. Those filthy Irish are causing so many problems!

  11. 🙂

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