The repairman’s cat

The appliance repairman was here at the house yesterday to fix the dryer and the gas range. He’s been here before. Friendly, heavy-set, neat. He likes our dog, Frankie, and always wants her to come to him so he can pet her. But Frankie is scared of him, frightened by his tool box, I think. Yesterday, though, after I encouraged her to say hi to him, she finally settled on the floor near his feet while he was writing up the bill for his work done.

Cat

Not the repairman’s cat; not my range.

Since he is so fond of Frankie, I asked him if he had any animals at home. That was when he told me that his cat had recently died. “I had him for 17 and a half years.” I said I was sorry to hear that and then asked him if he was going to get another cat. “My wife is having some problems right now,” he said. “She just had an operation a few months ago and she’s going to need another one. Have to get through all this before I can think about another animal.”

As he sat there rubbing Frankie’s neck, I said, “Well, at least you get to see some animals during the day, right? I imagine a fair number of the homes you visit each day must have dogs or cats around.”

“Yes, they do,” he said, “it’s the best part of my day.”

That always kills me. Someone saying the best part of their day is something unrelated to their work. Why isn’t repairing appliances the best part of his day? He’s helping people carry on with their lives. I’m elated that the dryer and the range are fixed. Shouldn’t he be happy that he has made my life better? Then again, perhaps he’s bored to death, having seen the same things over and over and over again. How many different things are their to fix on home appliances? Still, I’m always sad when I hear people say that their job doesn’t bring them happiness, that other things make them happy, like dogs and cats.

I should have asked him why he likes cats so much.

[ flickr photo courtesy of dreamo ]