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The unbelievable Client -Uncle Joe

Imagine This.
we all gathered to have a drink. Mark, Sam, Andrew and George. We have been in touch but don’t see regularly. Once in a while we meet, at most, if we don’t see it’s 4 to 6 months’ tops. Mark has been pissed all day, his uncle jobbed him on a commission He spent much of his time, finance and creativity on. “ I’ve had it” he says. “I ain’t drawing no line without a dime first.”
We all laughed at him, but he is damn serious. We have all been there, some of us still get jobbed till date.

Okay Picture this.
“I will like to build a three bedroom bungalow.” uncle Joe said.
“it’s a plot of land. I will like laundry room and no garage but a parking space for 3 cars.”

“Okay,” I replied.
“Where is the land?” I asked.
“Do you have any modern 3 bedroom design”, He interrupted my question
Yes, I said but,
Then let see it, it’s nothing much, you know. Just something a civil servant can raise with the little we earn.
“I have to see the site.” I said
He just kept talking like I wasn’t saying anything.
As my uncle, there Is a limit I can drag or talk further, all He wanted was sample plans, to see, like one and copy. All I want is to be creative and crazy with my ideas.
I give up explaining myself, I go in and bring some drawings.
His eyes fall on a 3 bedroom with a beautiful rendering.
That was the latest catch for clients, colorful 3Ds and perspectives. He took the 1 page drawing and asked if He could show his builder. He claims He loves it and if his builder can build it, He will Chose it. I gave him in good faith, with joy and happiness, I will be commissioned.
. . . . . .
Three weeks passed I didn’t hear from uncle Joe. Two months later, He shows up in our house with an elderly man I don’t know.
I greeted them. He answers and greets mum.
He seats and I see him bring out my 3 bedroom plan and 3D, all dirty and rumbled.
“Sam!” He called, “ehe… this your design, how is the roof supposed to be?”
“The roof?” I asked?
I haven’t finished the working drawings, roof.?
Yes, I was going to call you but my builder had very little time He is too busy so I had to start, I really love the plan. The stranger he came with smiled, I knew He was the builder.
I am speechless and angry. I am conscious of mum in the room too. I have to be respectful, I caution myself. Asking for the money for the commission seemed a dilemma too. He is considered family and in the worst case scenario, one is expected to help out for free. A big issue that has affected a lot of young talents freshly out of school. But this is damn no help to me, it’s exploitation but who am I to question the order of certain things.
I snap out of my thoughts.
“I have to finish the working drawings before I precisely know how the roof plan works.” I finally answered him.
“So how long will that take you?” He asked
Seriously! I said in thoughts?
I finally got the courage and spoke my mind.
“As long as you pay for it today, you will have it tomorrow.” Mum got a hint of my temper rising up and immediately left for the kitchen. I had done her a few favors for some friends that never paid. We ended up with a serious fight and I promised no pro-bono for family and friends. She understood it all but didn’t understand the business aspect of this thing of ours. She has been praying for a government job and don’t know we are by default meant to survive on our commissions as architects. A monthly income is like a prison sentence; we don’t spend like everyone else.
Uncle Joe is taken aback.
He busted into laughter. “My son, you won’t do your uncle this favour” He asked, still smiling
“No!” I said blankly. I promised not to explain myself even though I had a lot on my mind to pour out.
He looked at the builder and looked at me. He gave the builder the plan and then walked into the kitchen to see mum. He knows she is the only one that can get to me.
I knew our deal was over at this moment. I went to the builder all smiles and said “The roof is not hard to understand. Let me see the plan.”
He happily gave me the plan waiting for an explanation.

“How much He paying you.” I asked as soon as the plans were in my hands. He smiled as he realized what just happened. I knew I wasn’t getting any answer and He wasn’t getting any plans back either.
I walked out on him, went into my room and got dressed to go see my friends. Mum will have to forgive me for this one, I think it’s high time I activated one of the rules in the “Ten crack commandments” by Biggie Smalls. Rule no. 7“ Keep your family and business completely separated Money and blood don’t mix …”
. . . . . . . . .
George just came into town, am sure of getting a few bottles on him. A Far better deal than dealing with uncle Joe. Damn, architecture is a hard life.

-Diary of an architect,barwa

#zgbarwa #postcardthoughts #architecture #client #architect #atelier37

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