Domestic life imposes unpleasant obligations. The faucet leaks, the lamp refuses to light the room, the lock on the door sticks, and one evil day, horrors!, the refrigerator breaks down. Terrified we discover that the freezer is dripping and the appliance’s typical humming sound is no more. My neighbor José Antonio lived through a tragedy of this magnitude last week.
Early in the morning he called the nearest Domestic Repair Unit, but either they didn’t answer or he got a busy signal. He decided to go there and was met by a girl who was meticulously polishing her fingernails. Distressed, he told her the story of his appliance and described its symptoms. He was about to venture a diagnosis but at that moment she interrupted him to say that surely it was the timer and that they didn’t have the spare part. She explained that the workshop had a waiting list that stretched a couple of months. Like an intelligent man with some real life experience, the needy client formulated the correct question in a suitable tone, “And is there no other way to resolve this?” The woman paused in her manicure and shouted to a mechanic.
After agreeing on a price, everyone was satisfied. By midday the refrigerator was working again and the repairman went home with the equivalent of nearly two month’s wages. That night, my neighbor, who is a barman at a five star hotel, took to work several bottles of rum purchased on the black market. With these, he dispatched the first of the mojitos and tasty piña coladas that the tourists drink. They did not suspect they were helping to fill the gap left by the refrigerator repair, an enormous hole in José Antonio’s budget.