In my head, this is very funny - join me there.
In June 2005, we undertook a renovation of our home. We got the contractor from a neighbor whose home he was just completing. We met with "Sonny", the price was right, his work was good, so we shook on it. He said it would take, hahahaha - 7 weeks. Seven weeks stretched into seven months.
Seven months of being upstairs while they worked downstairs and downstairs while they worked upstairs. Seven months of plotting things out, having them be wrong, having them do it over again. They usually waited pensively for me to return home after a tricky part of a job was completed and when I smiled, they all clapped. They clapped not only because they were happy to have gotten it right with minimal sweat, but because most of the workers spoke little if no English.
They spoke Malaysian and I would sometimes find Mr. Lim, the one with the best command of English teaching Tali phrases in Malaysian by writing them on the wall prior to painting. Phrases like "Good morning", "How are you", "Sonny hasn't paid us in three weeks" - common everyday Malaysian.
People working in your home become like family, I mean they were here with us for seven months! We all knew each other's rhythms - the Chinese food they ordered for lunch every day, Painter Boy's wife was home in Malaysia, Tile Guy (dubbed Smiley by Scissors) enjoyed the ponies. This last bit we found out through sign language by Scissors. Seems Smiley wasn't the only one.
As time went on, we saw less of Sonny - partly because the workers had it under control but mostly because he began to evade us. We found out why when it was too late. One of the subcontractors who provided our kitchen cabinets hadn't been fully paid, although we had paid Sonny for them months ago. Obtaining receipts became a slippery situation. Neither we, nor the cabient guys were the only ones effected by Sonny's thievery. Long story short, Sonny disappeared and a mechanics lien appeared. This has all been ongoing since last year. We have moved to resolve it by having a meeting outside of the "lawyer" of the cabinet guys in the hopes of settling the whole messy affair between us and moving forward. Said meeting will take place tomorrow morning and I can't get out of my head a scene from the movie, The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984).
The Pope of Greenwich Village is one of those movies that is not a great movie but in many ways a perfect one. Perfect in capturing the characters' nuances and they are very watchable. The flick fails on many levels, but the music brings it back up - that and New York City as one of the characters. The main characters are Charlie (Mickey Rourke before plastic surgery) and his ne'er-do-well cousin Paulie (Eric Roberts) as small time wannabe wiseguys. I watched it again a year or so back and it didn't hold up so well as when I first had seen it, but I still enjoyed it.
The scene I'm talking about is a pivotal scene near the end of the movie in which Charlie goes into the social club of Bedbug Eddie (the mob boss) to confront him about a certain heist of $150 large that Charlie and Paulie are fingered as being behind. In it, Charlie strides with confidence into the club and sits down at the table intently staring at Bedbug while Paulie serves them espresso (which is where the "Tree sugars Eddie" line comes from). Charlie says: "Mister, I am the Pope, this is your church. But right now I'm the Pope of Greenwich Village cause I got the tape alright?" thus establishing his upper hand and totally sealing the deal.
Why did I think of this you ask? Because tomorrow I'm the Pope.
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