Over the last two months, she has been considering hiring someone from the community to come out and maintain this new home, but in all honesty, she really didn't know if any one of them would accept the position. In need a handy type, one who has the ability to mind their own and do their job, she was reeling with the thought of opening up her home, her private place, so that that one person could help make her home actually look and feel like a home. Most of the locals that she ever speaks with when out and about look at her with either disdain or a kind of curiosity that could end up negative on the long term. I don't dress any differently from the common trend, but of course, I have not gone out of my way to make conversation. I suppose that as a rule of small town America, if an outsider decides to take up residence within their limits and doesn't readily involve themselves in the local culture then that therein should be premise enough to consider the unknown as extrinsic and a pariah. Sometimes I see the vendors cringe when I smile, which I find humorous more than irritating. So much fear in the unknown. It must be exhausting, this small town mentality, that teaches them to be closed-minded and fearful of shadows. But I digress, the fact is: I need help. This house is in dire need of re-plumbing, amongst other things, and I am incapable of doing the job correctly. I suppose I'll post an ad in the local paper and see what turns up.
Walking back and forth across the creaky kitchen floor, I ponder what to write in the "Help Wanted" advertisement that's about to be placed. The local fare is mostly country folk, with few formally educated residing in it's populace. Not that I have any predisposition or prejudice to anyone lacking a 'formal' education, just that from personal experience the better the education the less likely for misunderstanding. Of course, that isn't always the case, but statistically speaking...
Sighing deeply, I pick up a pen and simply write, "Handyman needed for Home Repairs. Please inquire with Danielle McCulloch at 555-2760", then place the pen back in the cup. "I suppose this will do," shaking my head I pick up my cell to dial the local paper. After a few rings, a voice speaks through the receiver, "Thank you for calling the Denton Gazette, my name is Christine, how may I direct your call?" I smile, I know who Christine is, and she generally avoids all contact with me, this will be fun. "Hello Christine, this is Danielle McCulloch, I need to place a "Help Wanted" ad." Seconds of dead silence are followed by a clipped reply of, "I'll connect you to the advertising department." and a quick clicking to the hold music. I snort, such disconcerted fear of me is comical yet pathetic, and I wonder at the facial reaction she must have had hearing me speak to her through the phone. Did she quickly pull it away from her head and stare at it like an evil writhing thing? I almost wish I would have gone to the office to witness this spectacle... almost.
Two rings and then someone picks up, "Hello, Advertising Department, Tom speaking." "Hello Tom, This is Danielle McCulloch." He quickly interjects, "Well hello Danielle, what has you calling the advertising dept. today?" I laugh, "Just needing to place a "Help Wanted" ad. I'd like it to read, "Handyman needed for Home Repairs. Please inquire with me at 555-2760." Some shuffling sounds come across the phone then I hear, "Alrighty, how long do you want to run this ad and what page would you like it on?" I blink confusedly at the questions, I hadn't thought of all this, "uhm, how long can you put the ad in for and I didn't know you could pick a page." He chuckles, "don't read the paper much do you? Well no worries, the length of the ad varies to from day by day, weekly, or monthly. As far as the page it's on, means the price will go up or down, because it's more or less likely to be seen. That being said, most of the time, people usually scan through at least the first two pages." he pauses and says, "So what do you think you'd like, Dani? You don't mind if I call you Dani do you?" I fumble with the phone and say, "Uhm, no, it doesn't matter, you can call me that if you'd like... uhm, can you put it on the first page, I guess... ah, running for a week?" I feel so ill prepared for something I thought was supposed to be simple.
"You sound pretty unsure. Tell you what, Dani, I know a guy who's pretty handy, want me to just give him your information and have him call you?" Again confounded, I stammer, "Uh, sure. Yea, that will be fine." Tom chuckles again, "Alrighty then, I'll pass this on to Sam. He's a heck of a guy and a damn fine repairman. This way you don't have to worry with all the whackos who may respond to your ad, if only to finally get to talk to you." "Whackos?" "Oh heck yea, the local whackos who are itchin' to know what the new inhabitant of the old 'Culloch house is like. Our town is full of superstitious nut-jobs. This way, I can save you the stress! Ha Ha!" Startled by this revelation I mutter my thanks and quickly attempt to bring the conversation to a close, "I appreciate all of your assistance Tom, and I look forward to hearing from..." I look to the paper where I wrote the name, "... Sam. Have a good day." As I pull the phone from my ear I hear him say, "My Pleasure Dani, you take care now and don't hesitate to call me here if you have any other questions or needs. I can help you, no problem!" Stammering again, "Uhm, thanks... thanks very much...," and I hang up the phone.
Breathing a heavy sigh, I stare at the paper in front of me and wonder at it. I was completely unprepared for this turn of events! Laughing out loud, I feel very insecure at the fact that I think I unintentionally just made a friend.