Many years ago, I was sent out by the owner of a store I was working for to tune a piano that one of his customers had rented. The couple living in the apartment were obviously “sprung” out of their minds and all of the windows were completely blacked out with aluminum foil and heavy curtains taped to the walls . Now, that kind of thing doesn’t normally bother me because I grew up in the sixties and have met a fair share of drug addled bone-heads (most of them friends). But as the hour progressed I began to feel more and more uncomfortable.
As I opened up the piano and started to work, I felt them lurking behind me (this is, in itself, not particularly unusual – as many people have never seen the inside of a piano and are naturally curious). Then they started whispering to each other behind my back (one of the most distracting things you can do when someone is trying to concentrate). I turned around, to explain to them that I needed quiet to accomplish my task, only to find them video-taping me! I could have let it go but thought it inappropriate since they hadn’t asked for my permission to do so. I told them it made me feel uncomfortable and asked them to stop. Grudgingly, they complied.
The girl went upstairs and a few moments later began playing Klingon opera on her stereo, quite loudly! What the? So again, I stopped working and explained that, since I tune by ear, I needed quiet to do a good job. Again, grudgingly, they complied.
When I was finished with the tuning and had the piano all buttoned up. I had them sign my work-order so I could be payed for the job. As I was leaving, they complimented my work and the guy handed me a wad of dollar bills. I thanked them for the tip and left.
When I returned to the piano store I told the proprietor about the experience and pulled out the wad of bills. I counted them in front of him (13 singles) and he started to freak out on me. He was convinced that these people were evil and demanded that I discard the money (because it had bad mojo). I compromised and gave him one of the bills to placate his fear that I would be spiritually cursed for hanging on to it.
I’ve been in some strange situations in the normal course of doing my job but this is one of the weirdest. I’ve only told this to a few people over the years but now it’s out there for everyone to ponder – Were they evil or just crack-head tweekers?