First Smile of the Day

My first smile came from an unexpected source: the image of 5 Latino guys, covered in mud and rain, laughing hysterically outside my basement door.

Here’s the unfunny part. Our drainage system broke down, and we needed to install a sump pump and a whole new line of underground plumbing, so I hired a team. They did great work, powered right through the rain that won’t seem to stop these days.

It was a Thursday, so I was upstairs in my office working when I got a text from one of them: “Please to turn on circuit. No power.”

I went down into the basement, and sure enough, the circuit for the front porch had been tripped. I flipped it left then right and heard a jackhammer start up outside the basement door. Then, unexpectedly, laughter.

When I popped open the door, they were all in various stages of joy, some doubled over, some with hands on hips, one holding his head, another pointing. When I laughed with them, they replayed what had happened in a Mr. Bean-style of exaggerated mimicry. Apparently, upon my switch-flipping, the jackhammer, still plugged in, had suddenly come to life, and the youngest guy in the crew jumped. He jumped about 2 feet in the air, it sounds like. They couldn’t get enough.

What a sight: 5 guys in jeans, boots, and T’s against the backdrop of utter chaos, everything covered in mud and in piles, the light rain had been coming down for hours… and here they were, laughing their heads off.

Only moments ago, they were breaking concrete and digging 4-foot trenches with shovels, and I was staring intently at emails, with the end of my glasses in my mouth — wondering whether to take on another project to cover the cost of the hubbub outside, and admittedly stressed because I don’t understand Spanish nor sump-pump mechanics.

It’s so easy to fall down in a hole. I’m sure they’d agree.

A bit of laughter from the belly; that’s just what we needed.

Easy to translate.

Found in the strangest of places.