Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
|E-mail: keymonroe [at] alltel [dot] net

February 25, 2006

Bug Man Blues

Why is it so hard to find a good bug man?

I don't like appointments. They suck. Committing me to be somewhere at a specific time on a specific date, knowing that when that date actually arises, my good fortune will lavish upon me some inconsolable conflict... No thanks.

Of course I have my fair share of when and wheres, but...I avoid them when at all possible.

For example, for the last four years, I have insisted that my monthly pesticide service be an 8am deal. See, I will still forget the date of the appointment, but it won't matter, because at 8am I am usually only on my second cup of coffee, watching Fox News (even though I'm sick of it), and procrastinating the chore of bodily maintenance. Ergo...home to facilitate bug man entry.

Gomer Pile was my bug man for a long while. So long, in fact, that I actually began to remember that I had an 8am appt with him on every third Thursday. Of course that wasn't his name, but the boy was such an intriguing blend of Gomer and Forest, that during his reign, the sociologist in me actually forgot to be inconvenienced by the extra 30 minutes I had to wait before hopping in the shower.

I'd pour him a cup of coffee (on the mornings that he hadn't already had three cups before leaving the house), and he would tell me all the nightmares of being a 30-something and single "nice" guy with friends constantly subjecting him to crazed blind dates. He was friendly, yet strictly observed the unsaid five-foot berth policy as he performed the perfunctories, even calling out "Don't let me scare ya..." as he entered the room that he knew I was in.

It was comfortable. Which says a lot, because when home alone, a woman is always going to feel a moment of apprehension as she allows some strange guy to enter the sanctity of her personal space.

So... Imagine my disappointment when some other guy called to set up my service appt a few months ago. He set it up for 3pm...with my voice mail.

I showed at 3:15, annoyed, explained that three is the exact time my daughter is to be picked up from school, and requested that I be allowed to retain the 8am slot...any 8am slot.

He seemed offended that I didn't like the time he had especially picked out for me, but reluctantly obliged.

And this guy was no intriguing Gomer/Forest hybrid, no intriguing anything really, just a boring-looking, receding little man with a hick accent and a missing tooth on the bottom.

Less than thrilled, I have still upheld my end of the bargain, being that if I choose to reside within Dixie-limits, I am duty-bound to extend southern hospitality to any person whom I invite into my home.

So yesterday, as I sat with my first cup of coffee, attempting to bring Fox News into focus at 7:50am, I was only mildly annoyed when the doorbell rang. Ah yes, it's the third Friday now. I remember.

My house looked like hell, and clad in a sweatshirt, yoga pants, and untamed hair that had been put to bed damp, I was looking hellacious myself. But I allowed the bug man into my home, asked him to excuse the mess, and went back to the news. But not before letting him know that I had a fresh pot of coffee if he'd like a cup.

I was hoping for a "no thank you," simply because I was out of styrofoam cups, and I didn't feel like entertaining... But instead, I got a strange response: "Yeah, we've been meaning to have coffee for a few months now, haven't we?"

WTF? Whatever. I stumbled into the Kitchen to refill my own mug and asked him how he took his. "Let me go ahead and do the outside, then I'll come in and have a cup."

Again: WTF? Sigh. So much for getting rid of him early. No way I was changing clothes while he circled the house, but I used the time to brush the hair and pull it back into a ponytail, straighten up a bit, etc.

When he came back in, he asked to use my restroom. Took forever. Then wrote up my invoice. Took forever. Meanwhile, I had poured his coffee, which still sat full, even after I had written my check and handed it to him. Biz done, coffee poured, I felt I had met my end of the southern hospitality bargain and was ready for the guy to hit the road.

Instead, he chatted, while I drank more coffee and began to overheat, no doubt thanks to the coffee, the sweatshirt over thermals, and the growing annoyance of the situation. Given the bad vibes, the last thing I wanted to do was shed clothing, so I made a remark about it being hot and moved to adjust the thermostat. I thought I heard him mutter something like, "Maybe it's just you," and I considered responding to the overture by puking on the floor, but then, given that it's my house, I would've been the one to clean it up. So I ignored what I wasn't sure was said, and blamed the increasing temp on the over-zealous gas heat. Then I decided to lead by example, downing my last bit of coffee and placing the mug in the sink. And finally, we have a winner. He followed suit, finishing his and moving to place his mug in the sink as well. Of course, not wanting there to be any excuse for a brushing of sides, I quickly turned to get out of his way.

No such luck. Something stopped me, and it being so outside the standard deviation of expected behavioral patterns, it took a sec for it to sink in... But sure enough, that man had hold of my ponytail, and was using it to pull me back a step...toward him.

I can't imagine the look of shock and appall that I must have given the guy, but for such a nervous little redneck man, he was uncannily smooth in his explanation. "Your hair, " he said as he pulled out my ponytail holder, "is beautiful. You should wear it down."

Looking back on it, I believe there was a split-second of hesitation, as I wondered whether or not I could beat the little toad into the ground should he try anything else... But then, that is not what instinct was telling me. Instinct was telling me to RUN!

So without so much as a glance back, I immediately headed for my front door. I may not have been able to get him out the door, but I could sure as hell use it for my own escape.

On the way out, I peered into the hallway and called after my dog... The nice-sized shepherd/husky mix is actually a skittish excuse for a guard dog, but she never liked the new bug guy, so I knew she was a ready ally.

Before we made our exit, though, he called out from the Kitchen. He had observed my broken faucet and was telling me that he'd take a look at it for me, that he was handy around the house.

"No, thank you, " I said, "I'm going to buy a new one." And by the time the words were out, my canine companion and I were in the yard. Bug man was still talking to me from inside the house, beseeching an indoor convo, but I wouldn't have it. I stood out in my front yard until he finally came out as well.

Relief. A hurried "Bye!" A closed door. And back inside, I think I broke a record for speed as I dead-bolted every door in the house.

Don't get me wrong; my nerves are sturdy. But that was fucking creepy.

Public places among friends, the guy wouldn't have shaken me. But this was my house! And I was alone!

Bad vibes, I tell ya. And I'm usually one to handle shit myself. But I actually called Shrek for reinforcement on this one.

Of course, he wanted to get the guy fired that very moment. Me? Well, I had cooled enough to be somewhat rational, and so, the thought of the guy getting a call from his manager while he was still 5 minutes away from my house didn't sit well with me. After all, I would have to open the door to go to work within the next hour.

So Shrek called the company, got the manager's name, and said he'd be calling back later to explain why we were cancelling our service.

And still, I ask myself, WTF?

I suppose the moral to the story is, for every Gomer, there is a Creep. And ya know, it's a lot more fun getting creeps fired when they don't know where you live.

(Perhaps I should learn how to arm my $32.65/month security system.)

posted by Key on 11:42 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

He still knows where you live...be careful. I would tell the company why I won't do business with them any longer, for the sake of some oher unsuspecting woman. Too creepy. Made me mad just reading what happened to you.

Posted by: vk at February 26, 2006 12:38 AM

Got yer back, Key. Say when and where. Not a morning person but I'll make an exception.

Posted by: zonker at February 26, 2006 12:52 AM

.. he grabbed your ponytail?... you should have decked the guy...

Posted by: Eric at February 26, 2006 07:25 AM

I woulda deck him the second he touched me! Be careful. At least call the police station and alert them of the situation so they can keep an eye on your house too.

Posted by: livey at February 26, 2006 10:56 AM

Buy a gun and learn to use it.

Posted by: Acidman at February 26, 2006 09:47 PM

Man, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. That is one creepy fellow.

Posted by: Moogie at February 27, 2006 02:38 PM

Butcher knife. One solid thrust in the ribcage, then a follow-up to the nutsack.

What a piece of shit.

Posted by: Elisson at February 27, 2006 03:33 PM

THIS is exactly why I refuse to be the only one at home when workmen have to come inside the house. Although our bug man is great, I still insist that my mom is home when he comes.

Posted by: Beth at February 27, 2006 04:32 PM

I'm thinking that Mr Bugman should be missing more than just one tooth on the bottom after that stunt.

Posted by: Chablis at February 27, 2006 08:37 PM

Idiots. Easy to say Beat His Ass! A woman doesn't engage a stranger who has already shown a propensity for physical assault by starting a fistfight in her most vulnerable place, i.e. inside her house, alone.

The fool has already telegraphed he is capable of assault and battery. What if he has a knife? A gun? Key did the exact right thing. Go outside. Take her dog. If she wants to kick his ass outside, where he belonged to have it kicked, fine.

But a smart woman seeks safe harbor. She can be all that after the fact.

Well done, Key. All you could do, under the circumstances. Although I'll be happy to ensure it won't happen again.

Posted by: Velociman at February 27, 2006 11:12 PM

Getting out of the house, teaming up with the dog and canceling the service was the way to go.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at March 4, 2006 04:33 AM

Agreed. Teaming with the pooch and out the front door was the best course of action.

Still, as I read over this whole episode, I couldn't help but to think, "Good ole Southern hospitatlity be damned--don't you know these people watch Desperate Housewives?!"

Posted by: Adam at March 21, 2006 06:57 AM

I am with Acidman on this one. Be ready and able. You can always decide not to -- but if you're not prepared -- you never will be able to decide to.

That's scary.

Posted by: Shawn Kielty at March 22, 2006 01:41 AM

that is so creepy, Key!
you did exactly the right thing.

Posted by: beth at April 11, 2006 11:28 AM
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