Chopping down leaves
I got a DirecTV satellite system back in December. I got sufficient signal strength, but as December turned into Spring and then turned into Summer, the leaves on the trees started growing, culminating in a loss of several channels. I asked the building complex administrators if they could trim some of the leaves. They said the landscape people come on "Wednesday", and they'll see what can be done.
Of no surprise to me, when I got home on Wednesday night, nothing had happened to the leaves. I was in a chat room whining about it when my friend Keith mentioned he had a leaf/branch trimmer thing. Great!
So I borrowed the trimmer. It was a long pole, but the pole stiff wasn't long enough to reach the leaves I wanted to get. But my upstairs neighbour had a balcony that could reach the leaves. I went up there to ask my neighbour if I could stand at his front door balcony and use the pole to take down some of the small leafy branches.
He replied, in Spanish, that he didn't speak any English. So I did my best to point at things, like the leaf trimmer, the leafs, his balcony, and I made tree trimming motions. I think he indicated that it would be OK, so I fetched the leaf trimmer, which looks like a real big machete, the kind the Grim Reaper would use. After I started trying to trim, he got into the action, and helped me. This was good since I'm not the strongest brand of coffee on the Starbucks' menu, if you know what I mean. He was really getting into it, and hacking off all sorts of small branches with little help from me.
I went back downstairs and checked my signal strength. It was the best it had ever been - almost perfect. I went upstairs to say Gracias, which I believe is Spanish for Thank You. He then looked down and saw my satellite dish and understood that the leaves were in the way.
So then I realized that he had no idea this whole time why he was helping me tear down these branches. I just showed up with a big branch cutter, and he was all into it. When I first asked him for help, he was sitting on a milk crate watching his TV, also on a milk crate, so I guess he didn't have much going on, and any distraction was a good one, even ones coming from a lanky white boy.