Thursday, December 15, 2011

NEW WINDOWS: THE ILIAD




The Iliad, which I have not exactly read but have definitely heard of, is an epic poem that tells of the tale of Achillesita, a brave homeowner warrior who wages a courageous battle over many years against a shifting coalition of Greek city-states in order to have new windows installed on her old house in Troy.  She tells her story in flashbacks, leading the reader in through the beginning of the action even though she is close to the end of her life-- the windows end up literally killing her, which launches a thousand ships captained by Athena, who sprang fully formed from Zeus' head right around the time Prometheus was looking to buy a place and ended up on an isolated lot outside of town, over by that big rock.    

Achillesita's first task is to forge an army.  She makes the rounds among the mercenaries, explaining what she needs and asking who will join her.  A mercenary pseudonym-ed Mr. Petrov volunteers for the challenge, and Achillesita determines that Mr. Petrov is sufficiently knowledgeable and affordable, as mercenaries go. 

Mr. Petrov and Achillesita agree that the war will be waged at 9am on a Tuesday at the beginning of December.  On the appointed day for the first battle, Mr. Petrov's installation phalanx arrived at 11am and said:

Oh, it's too late for us to get started now.  
We'll have to come back another time.  This is a big job.  
Hey, in the meantime, can we leave these windows in your garage?

[Obviously, they said that in ancient Greek.]

Disheartened, Achillesita beat her chest and gnashed her teeth and wailed to Mr. Petrov, but to no avail.  Achillesita sighed deeply, and then called Mr. Petrov's office assistant, Candi, to reschedule for the following Monday.

On the day of the second battle, the gods laughed at Achillesita, and made the heavens open and the rains pour down.  Mr. Petrov's office assistant Candi called and said

So so sorry about this, we do apologize, but we can't install in the rain now can we?  We'll put you on the schedule for Thursday.

[Again, I'm translating here from the Homeric verse she used.]

Achillesita, who is trying look on the bright side, reminds herself how much new windows mean to her.   She reassures herself that he has done the right thing by choosing to have new windows installed.  It's winter in Troy; it's cold.  She knows she can't go through another Troy winter with only decrepit window slats to protect her.  Whatever Mr. Petrov or the gods throw at her, she will have new windows, and it will be worth it.  It's not like this is the Trojan War or something.
  
On the day of the third battle, the installation phalanx arrives on time!  The phalanx gets to work!  The phalanx is taking old windows out and putting new ones in!  Achillesita heads off to work, gladdened that the tide of the war has finally turned in her favor.

In the early afternoon, Achillesita gets an e-mail from Mr. Petrov.  The subject line says 'change order request.'  

The heart of Achillesita sinks, all the way to her heel.  The e-mail reads, in part:

Your crazy Frankenhouse was built by Dionysus, and so it has a wall that is not level 
Because of this, there are 3 windows that  need to be re-framed 
Re-framing will cost $$$$ 

In a very dramatic scene, Achillesita meets with the installation phalanx to see the windows that need to be reframed.  
She sees where the wall sinks in the middle; she lashes out and curses Dionysus' drunken homebuilding technique:

curse this 

She sees the windows now hanging in midair; in horror and wonderment, she pokes at the  exposed guts of the 
Dionysus Wall.  She wonders if someone has stuffed paper bags in the wall's wounds:





The installation phalanx also says that because they were so busy marveling at the ridiculousness of the Dionysus Wall, they did not have time to do the big windows in the front of the house.  
Or rather, they started the battle on those windows, but did not finish:

plastic windows...
...almost as cool as my cardboard fix.




































At the end of the third battle, Achillesita slumps in her armor, exhausted.  The mercenary installation phalanx deserts her.  She calls Mr. Petrov's office assistant Candi and says to her, in ancient Greek-- when can the installation phalanx return to finish the war?  Mr. Petrov's office assistant Candi says, Greekly:

The soonest would be a week from today.  I'll put you down.

Her spirit stirs at the indignity of living for a week with plastic windows.  Achillesita regains a bit of herself and tells Mr. Petrov's office assistant Candi she wants to get another estimate for the cost of re-framing the windows, so waiting a week would be fine.  Mr. Petrov's office assistant Candi says, in her Spartan dialect:

Well, that's a good idea.  That's just good business.

You're darn right that's good business, Achillesita thought to herself.  And with that, she headed back downtown to meet her friends for dinner.

NEXT INSTALLMENT~
NEW WINDOWS: THE ODYSSEY

1 comment:

  1. Wait are you saying they are leaving the windows as PLASTIC SHEETING for a week? Oh My Goodness Gracious. Mr. Petrov, I am disappointed!

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