Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Don't do me like that.

I have just returned, via mountain bike, from my friend Ditka's house (Ditka being a nickname he'll heartily appreciate), where I installed his air conditioner.

There's a backstory, of course: Ditka and I have been acquaintances for some time, usually winding up in the same bar or bars to watch football on Sundays throughout the season. A mutual friend introduced us, and within a few months, it was like we were old pals. Old pals, of course, who root for rival football teams.

Ditka got married a few months back, and I've met his lovely bride and she is very nice, and very much the woman I would have picked for him, if I had the daunting task of matchmaking my friends. Thankfully, I do not have that task.

So, last night, he comes walking into my pub quiz and grabs a seat. I got to talking to him, as we hadn't seen each other for a while. I asked him what brought him out to this particular pub quiz. "The wife's at the Cubs' game, and it must be about 110 in my house right now, not to mention I wanted a beer and haven't seen you in ages, so here I am."

"You don't have air in your house?"

"We've got an air conditioner, but we haven't hooked it up yet."

"Why the fuck not?"

"We got frustrated and gave up."

"That's when you're supposed to call me, buddy." He smiled. I gently reminded him that I once not only worked in construction, but I also once installed 10 units in 10 condos on one sweltering July day. If there is one task that I can firmly and without doubt say I can accomplish with relative ease, that is it. Well, that and installing automatic ice makers in refrigerators. I'm pretty damn good at that, too, and it requires a lot less sweat.

He called me tonight to call in that promised favor. After a little bit of logistics and a few adjustments, hey presto, functioning AC in his bedroom, and he had a devilish grin on his face. I knew why. I know what happens when it gets hot and you're trying to share a bed with someone. Even a King size bed might as well be a twin at that point.

He offered me a beer, and I accepted ice water. He offered to write me a check for $150, and I told him to buy me a beer or two or three sometime. He offered money again, and I told him to buy me a beer or two or three sometime. We chatted a little more, and I heard the thunderstorm getting worse, so I shook his hand and left.

I, friends and neighbors, don't like to take money from my friends for silly chores like that. Ever.


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