And I did ask! His name is not Omar. But the truth be known, he’s not really even a tent maker he’s a sail maker, who can double as a tent maker. I stopped by the shop and inquired if he can replace the material on my 12’ X 20’ tent. It is a pipe system with a cloth top that has seen better days, it is no longer water proof and so thin the sun can shine through in spots. But it’s also 15 years old and I purchased it new in 2001 the year my daughter YoHanna got married, at the outrageous sum of $300.00 USD.
It has a galvanized pipe frame and I can put it up in less than 30 minutes (With a little help from my friends.) The last time it was erected was during the Pacman Mayweather fight. But quick was taken down for typhoon Dodong the Super Typhoon (According to CNN) that never happened. While at Vasco’s for lunch I asked my friend Brian (The owner) if he knew where I could have a new one made? He said he had a sail shop, that could make a new top and to see his shop manager Omar) to get an estimate. Off I go!
Hello Omar, (Not the real name) can you make a top to my tent? I’m sorry sir we do sails only. Oh my; that is odd as Brian told me you could, I’ll be right back as I’m going to tell him he was wrong. Wait sir, did you say tent top? Why yes I did. Sir let me see, I think we can do that. Well isn’t that nice?
Sir you must bring it here and I’ll measure it, so I’ll know how much material, Paul said; “Omar it is 12 feet by 20 feet.” Yes sir we will measure it when you bring it to the shop,” he replied.” Omar do you think it might still be 12 feet by 20 feet if I move it from there to here? But you could be right and it could have changed shape”. But sir we use metric. Ahh now I understand as I took his tape measure and extender it out to 20 feet and noted that it also measured in metric. My tent top is now measuring 6.09 meters by 3.65. It was odd how that worked out. It has ceased to be 20 X 12 feet.
Once more Omar said; “Sir I won’t know how much material is needed until I measure it.” Well that made perfect sense to me and measure it we will, so I told him we should measure it when I bring it in, and he can give me an estimate of material and labor then. He nodded in total agreement with me, as he had gotten his way and the Kano was still smiling. Mayang being the perfect wife was wise enough to dash to the Vasco’s bar (3 minutes away) and place a frosty SMB into my hot sweaty hand. Omar and I have just bonded and are now seeing eye to eye on all things requiring measurements. Hmmmm Beer the lubricant of life.
Why I’m not totally Kalbo from scratching my head I’ll never know. My wife looked at me and smiled, when I asked why she was smiling? She said; “It’s because 20 years ago you would have been shouting like a Tasmanian devil”. I guess I have mellowed with age or could it be the SMB?
The following day I throw the tent into the trunk of the car and take it to be measured at the appointed time and place as specified by Omar, but upon arrival it was noted that he was not working that day. Slight Popeye factor, I went to Vasco’s across the parking lot to talk with Brian the Australian owner. Sorry Omar, but you caused that to happen. I left the tent cover in his care and he said Omar would call me within a day or so.
Now if you’re wondering why I’m bothering to replace the cover at all, it is because of memories of all the occasions the tent has provided to us. And how many marriages, funerals and parties it has been used for by members of our Purok, they all know it is available for their use, and they treat it like it was made from spun gold. The Barangay Kaptian has borrowed it also. I told you I was a sycophant, currying favor with the powers to be.
I was informed I would get my tent back in a week or two, and Mayang picked a blue material to match the smaller tent we have. Which Mayang fell in love with at Traders Store on the Freeport and for only USD $60.00 it was at our house and set up that very afternoon. Tents are important in a sunny (Soon to be rainy) country.
In a couple of weeks I’ll let you know the rest of the tent story. And BTW Omar’s real name is Tony, but I never called him that.