The plumber was an older man with salt and pepper hair peeking out from his red and white logo cap. He wore dark blue jeans that were too short in the length and too high on his waist, a red and black flannel shirt that was tucked in too far and held up by a black leather belt that appeared to be too tight. His short pants fully exposed a pair of brown hiking boots with leather laces. He had a worried look on his face as he banged around the utility room.
I clearly told him that the element must have gone out. I was impressed with
myself for knowing what a heating element was; disgusted with the thought of it
he shook his head and announced loudly that my water heater did not have an
element. Well maybe that was the problem then? He was not at all impressed by my
stupidity and pointed to the word “gas” on the water heater. I still didn’t get
it. “Is it out of gas?” “No, it’s not out of gas; one of your pressure valves is
broken. “Can’t you hear all the water running down the drain?” I stuck my head
out in front of me so it appeared that I was listening intently and I turned an
ear toward the water heater.
He then informed my husband (he was done talking to me by that point!) that our water heater was set up improperly. The water should not be piped to a drain; it should be allowed to drain onto the floor. Now that made no sense to me and when he decided he would “fix” the problem by removing the pipe to the drain, I protested. Even though it was a utility room with a concrete floor I still didn’t understand the concept of just letting the water drain onto the floor. With his brow furrowed his face looked like a roadmap, he snapped in my direction with the bill of his hat flapping like a ducks bill, “If there is a problem with the water heater the water will drain onto the floor and you will see it. If there is a problem with the water heater and the water runs down the drain you will not see it.” I didn’t reply this time, but I wanted to say that
if the water runs down the drain I will still know there is a problem because there will be no hot water. Huh! And I didn’t even go to plumbing school to learn that.
After he informed us that our electrical system was set up incorrectly and that the water heater was vented in the wrong place and that we need a water softener, he was done and so was I. I wanted him to leave. My hot water heater was fixed, it was 8:15pm and I was ready for bed. In my head I kept chanting, “Be gone with you.” After he left he can came back once more to give me his business card in case there were further issues. “Don’t’ call the 1-800 number, just call my cell. I don’t usually do this but in this situation I will.” As he walked away I wondered why. Was I a special case not worthy to speak to the 1-800 people? Was he embarrassed at my lack of water heater knowledge? I wasn’t sure and I really didn’t care. His job is to fix plumbing
issues and mine is to write – he can thank my friend Jane for making him the subject matter in my blog today! Who knows maybe our plumbers can get together and compare notes some time.
I think the one thing I learned from this little exercise about characters is “style”. Jane writes eloquently, her words are smooth around the edges. She paints a picture and I sketch. Her words are colorful, mine are black and white. She strokes each sentence while I chisel each sentence. She is ebony and I am ivory – but we live together in perfect harmony!(sing it now)( side by side on my piano keyboard oh Lord why don’t we!) OK and I might just throw in some aniMAASity and humor every now and then too : )
If you have a chance, read Jane’s blog: www.newbiewriters.com
Have a great day passengers!