Four years ago I broke my
left leg, so I couldn’t work at my office for the whole summer. (Third floor, outer stairs, doing
massage.) I was totally freaked out ’cause
I had rent and utilities to pay. So our
landlord, Troy, who was one of those guys who had his hand in every little money
making scheme imaginable, had an idea for me.
He had all these Flintstones
style jeeps that he’d converted to ice-cream delivery trucks. And you guessed it, I got to drive one…for
3 long, hot months (in a cast, I might add).
Those lovely recordings that
everyone loves to hate, had on off switches…not volume. And I was told to play it all the time and
a s s l o w l y a s p o
s s i b l e .
You think you’re miserable listening to them in your neighborhood? Try being stuck in kiddy crack hell.
There were four tunes that
I could switch between. Hickory Dickory
Dock, Three Blind Mice, The Entertainer, and some terribly frightening warped
to hell and back sounding song that I didn’t know. The worst was when the
kids, strung out on sugar, would run up singing the song at the top of their lungs. I’d always turn it to song # 4. I swear I felt like a drug dealer. I don’t know how many times the dirtiest
skinniest kid would weasel his way to the front and beg me for just one,
telling me he’d pay me tomorrow.
I had a route to follow
everyday and got to keep 1/3 of my earnings. Troy kept the other portion. Eventually, he found out that I spoke a
smattering of Spanish. So he sent me out
to the construction areas. These guys
would hear me coming and practically leap from the tops of the houses. I’m sure I was much more fun to look at than their
buddies Juan and Carlos. I ended up
making more than any other route and actually had some fun doing it. I even got to turn off the music sometimes.
I developed a new love for
the Latin culture that summer. And no,
it’s not what you might think. At first
I thought it was solely the construction workers, but then once I began to
swing over to the Mexican housing area of our town, I realized that it was
cultural. I saw the same thing in both
places. Each day, one or two guys would
buy for everyone – buddies, children, wives, etc. They all got whatever they wanted. Everyone was happy, smiling and
grateful. There was a real sense of camaraderie. The next day it would be another guy or
two…and the next another.
such a huge change from the rich suburbs, where the moms were nowhere to be
seen and the kids just clawed their way past each other to shout out their
orders at me. This felt more like a
community. And for once my music was
neither the loudest, nor the most energetic.
I learned a few things that
- Don’t break your leg in
- Community is more important
- Construction workers can be
- I never want to hear Three
Blind Mice again.