Monday, January 21, 2013


Better to have an enemy who slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back.

Well, I recently got a firsthand taste of that old saying after 59 years of being fairly blissfully ignorant. But I guess betrayal hurts just the same whether you're 9 or 59. I would suppose so, anyway.

This all began with a water leak in our bathroom. Sounds pretty simple on the surface,   but these snowballs do grow and get to rollin' downhill. The normal thing seemed to be to report this ever more gushing leak to the landlord with the expectation that some action would be taken. Silly me.

Yes, because, you see, Balinese landlords have actually nothing to do with their property. It's the renters responsibility. The landlord merely collects the money. It is the tennant who is expected to fix anything that goes wrong with the house. And I do mean anything.

As an example, our former landlord demanded that we replace the roof over the parking drive after it blew away in a windstorm. Of course you must, she said. After all, it was there when I rented the place to you,, and now it's gone.

Such, it proved, was the case with the leak in the bathroom. The old, rotting, deteriorating pipe behind the toilet was just fine when she rented the place, so if it was leaking now, it could only be our own fault.

Right. Well okay, then, at least send a repairman.

Ah but now she doesn't want to -- because I had insulted her by telling her the pipe was not in good condition, and could not have been in good condition for the past 9 years or so.

To this point, the story is pretty simple. A story of typical dishonesty and greed. Ah, but the plot thickens. It so happens that the landlord's husband is my best friend in Bali. I have known him for 3 years and we have visited daily. It so happens, also, that said husband and best friend has been basically estranged from his wife for the last year. They live in different parts of their house, they rarely speak, and he regularly refers to her as "the bitch". In fact, he appears to refer to almost every woman as the bitch, my own wife included.

Now, I've always let this pass, because he's typically an angry, curmudgeonly sort, like my first wife, and so I'm kind of used to it, and I think he has a good heart somewhere down there in the recesses of his chest or bowels.

I felt comfortable therefore, while discussing the leaky situation on Facebook cat, to myself refer to his wife as a bitch. I was angry, you see, and increasingly frustrated by the wasteful fountain of water coming out of the pipe in the bathroom.

But don't ya know, my 'friend' ran straight away and told his wife what I said.  A relationship leak has now become a disastrous flood. Next thing, the wife is on the phone with my wife complaining about the terrible insults I have cast upon her, while my own wife, ever faithful, begins to stoke the fire with further insults and counterattacks.

Gee, all I wanted was to get the water pipe fixed.

Well, next thing I know, Vick is sending me a message saying that "the whole thing has gotten out of hand" and that I simply need now to apologize to his wife and all will be well.


Apologize? What, for the can of worms he opened himself? Apologize for what was very clearly never meant for the woman to hear, and for what she never would have heard but for the big, inexplicably moronic mouth of her husband? Apologize for using the same words, in a private conversation, which he himself regularly uses to describe both his wife and mine?

Good grief.

So apologize, I did. Though of course to no avail. What's done is done. The snow ball is rolling faster than ever, crushing everything in its path. And here I am standing with a knife in my back.

End result: I hired a man, got the pipe fixed, and paid the bill myself. And we are all now dire enemies.

Moral of the story. Hm. Trust no one, I guess, and especially a friend -- for one is never in greater danger than at the hands of a friend.

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