home depot charlie

Sometimes you get people at grocery stores, drug stores, Targets. He was a middle aged Black dude at the Home Depot.

Who knows why these folks don’t have cars. Maybe theirs is in the shop. Maybe they lost their license. Maybe they did the math and car ownership is more $$ than taking Lyfts.

Didn’t ask. Didn’t care. He was nice.

“Get everything you needed at the Home Depot?” I asked. It was a gentle Sunday afternoon. Nice sun shine. Little traffic. Simple drive down the road a few miles to this man’s home.

“We’ll see. This is just my third time here today.” he grumbled.

“Man, I wish I was handy.” I admitted.

“Me too. I’m like that dog at the computer. I don’t know what I’m doing,” he chuckled.

“So how do you do it? Do you have a pal? A book? YouTube?” I asked.

“Almost all YouTube,” he said. “The instructions are worthless.”

“Because they’re written poorly?”

“Because they’re so damn SMALL! Who can see those words? I’m gonna burn down my house and it’ll be because the ‘warning don’t touch the red wire with the black wire’ is written in the tiniest font size.” he complained.

“Tell me about it. I like baseball cards and, granted, I’m getting older, but I feel the text is laughably small on the back of the cards. Yes, they’re for kids. Some of these cards, but at the price of some of these packs, I don’t know how many kids can afford them.” I said.

Did I ask him what he was working on? No. Why get that in the way?

“You ever hire any of those Mexicans standing outside in the parking lot?” He asked me.

“Sure!” I said, “they know way more than I do.”

“Accurate. But they have a little cartel going. Everything is $75. Big job, little job, easy job, hard job: $75. What in the name of new math is that?” he asked, seriously perplexed.

“I don’t like to take advantage of our migrant friends, but I usually show them my $40 and ask, ok who wants this money for the job I have back at the crib?” I said. “Someone will go for it. And if it turns out big, I’ll give them some weed or something. A six pack.”

His name was Charlie. I know some Black guys have that name. Charlie Parker, for example. But he didn’t look like a Charlie. If it was a longer ride I would have told him that.

“God bless these motherfuckers who make these 2 minute YouTube videos, though, man,” Charlie said, rolling down the back window and spitting out some worn down gum.

“True,” I said. “What is their motivation?”

“I don’t know. Maybe to feel important? Maybe because they banged their head against the wall and when they figured it out they set their camera on a tripod and said, ‘imma tell y’all negros what i learned and here it be.'” Charlie deduced.

“Is that what you’re gonna do if the third time’s a charm today?” I asked.

“Hell naw. You think I know how to make a YouTube?” he chuckled.

Got him home. He got out. A few minutes later:

$3 tip.