Tuesday, December 21, 2010


"W" is for "Waiting"

Specifically, waiting for the plumber.
Ever see the play titled “Waiting for Godot”?
The characters in that production sit around and wait. There’s not much action; they just wait.
I was reminded of this classic of the modern theatre when I phoned recently for someone to come to the aid of my unfortunate kitchen sink. Though usually of a reasonably sunny disposition, it had suddenly acquired a malady of some sort that caused it to gasp, groan and hiccup in a highly disturbing manner.

Over the years I have learned the hard way that whatever gifts I may possess, and there sure aren’t many, plumbing – dealing with pipes, fixtures, drainage, hydraulics, etc. – isn’t one of ‘em. So I phoned a pro to do the job.
After a while the plumber calls back and tells me he’ll be at my place the next morning some time between 9 am and 12 noon.
I work out a rapprochement, one might even call it an entente cordiale, with my sink, which agrees not to erupt and overflow for the next 24 hours, as long as I promise to get a plumber to ease its gastric distress.
The next morning I sit home for hours waiting like a person condemned to house arrest. I don’t have that little ankle bracelet, but outside of that the situation is very similar. I wait.
The time slowly advances from 9 am to 12 noon. Pas de plombier – no plumber.
The guy calls around 12:30 to apologize, seems he’s running a bit late, but he’ll make it by 2. As good as his word, he shows up around 2 o’clock. Evidently he had been too busy all morning to call. So I had lost an entire morning waiting, during which I could have done something I’ve been intending to do for years: reading “Moby Dick.”
It’s remarkable. I got to thinking of the business I ran for a number of years. If I ever called a client and said I’d come to his office for a meeting, say, next Tuesday and that I’d be there some time between 9 am and 12, just for starters I would probably never get to see that client again – not even from a distance.
If on top of that, I show up there Tuesday afternoon at 2, bright-tailed and bushy-eyed, security would have been called to escort me out of the place before I really got in.
So come on, plumbers, painters, carpet cleaners, refrigerator repairmen, give us a break. Mention a time when you plan to show up and then make an effort to arrive at least within an hour of that time. If you see you’re not going to be able to make it, remember that great invention of Alexander Graham Bell (you know, the chap who invented the Graham Cracker) and give us a call.
I don’t want to have to read “Moby Dick” while waiting for you because I know how it turns out – the butler did it.
Ever have a waiting-for-the-plumber experience?


Jedediah said...

Too many. I hate those "between 9 and 12" appointments because I get dead tired without fail, but of course I can't take a nap. Also, what's so hard about calling when you're running late?
But I think there are worse ways to spend that time than reading Moby Dick.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

aggghh!! I totally feel you - I have been wasting long hours waiting for the washer/dryer technitian, plumber, carpenter... and yet we still trust in their word!! There must be an international job description: 1) expert in pipes 2) thin blood 3) lack of sense of time 4) limited knowledge of phone and/or any other communication devices...;)

Anonymous said...

You are so correct. I can't agree with you more. And how about those ever-loving professional doctors! They set an appt with you... you come in "on time" and sit there for at least 1/2 hour to 1 hour.... "hurry up and wait".... A Very Merry Christmas to you! :) The Bach ~ Lord Thomas of Wellington

kathew said...

ah yes the waiting game...mine is a bit different tho as my sweetie pie can fix anything-no joke! (remind me to tell you the story of my wooden WWII ironing board repair)
Sometimes I have had to say "If this #$@! isn't repaired by ...days I will call the handyman"
Eh voila things get fixed. He just has a different set of priorities than I do.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hildred and Charles said...

Speaking of Waiting for Godot, plumbers and God seem to have some sort of affinity - and maybe doctors, too! Sent here so we could acquire patience (patients) I guess.

Nanka said...

Berowne, looks like the whole lot work similarly all around the world :D Have gone through that and understand very well what you have said.

Gigi Ann said...

I hear you!!! I think with the Plumbers and others who visit our homes to do fix-it work, they are never sure how long a job is going to take. Therefore, what they thought was a half hour job turns into a 2 hour job, through no fault of their own. And if they are good at their job, I don't mind the few hours extra wait, as long as they take the time to do a good job for me. After all, "A good Plumber is hard to find, I always get the other kind."..BTW... did he do a good job and fix the sink's burps?

Cezar and Léia said...

I liked a lot your choice and when you wait you need also patience!Here in Luxembourg all things are very slow and if you need a plumber, maybe you can wait for several weeks because first of all you need to make an appointment by internet of phone.Believe me it's really crazy and you need lots of patience!
Hugs and a beautiful Christmas!

Leslie: said...

Refreshing break from old Will...thought you might discuss "A Winter's Tale" today. However, amusing tale of waiting....waiting....waiting... And yes, of course, I think we all have had this experience and as you say, you can't take a nap in case you don't hear the doorbell. Have a wonderful Chistmas and I'm looking forward to your continuing saga of Shakespeare and other literature.

Winchester Daily Photos said...

Indeed, we are at the mercy of plumbers, electricians! You're lucky - sometimes they don't turn up at all..!

Roger Owen Green said...

I HAVE NO SKILLS when it comes to plumbing. I realize that plenty of reading material makes the wait more tolerable.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Tumblewords: said...

Well, yes, of course. And any type of repair person. Recently, an unavoidable missed appointment (and cancelled at the earliest possible sign of conflict) cost the patient $200. I sometimes wonder if perhaps regular folks might try that same sort of punishment. :)

Linda May said...

G'day, Thanks for your bloggy visit. That is frustrating waiting for a tradesman who doesn't show, what is wrong with these guys, don't they have a sense of time or an idea of using the phone as a mark of courtesy?
Well fancy that, you are from all the way over and you know "The Road to Gundagi" and sing it, god love ya. Hahaha. What where you doing over in Oz?

Francisca said...

Waiting is a good choice for W day, but it's an awful thing to actually do! While I've had plumbers, doctors, dentists and many others be late for OUR appointment, I rarely "wait"... Time being a most precious asset, I cannot waste it on waiting or worrying...I just do something else that needs doing, or I want to do, until they show up.

SW said...

Funny you should mention it, but ... here's my last post on the same subject. Happy Holidays,


helenmac said...

as the daughter and granddaughter of pipefitters and plumbers, I will try to come to their aid. My theory: the time gene is missing from the DNA.
HelenMac, ABC team

Berowne said...

Linda May: "What where you doing over in Oz?"
Visiting, and trying to find a Matilda to waltz with. :-)

ds said...

Name a repair person, and one of us has waited for him. And waited. And waited. Funny, I never thought of reading Moby Dick...
Glad your sink's gastric distress has been remedied.

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