Things were a little slow at my job the other day which apparently included the sink in the office break room. When I went in to refill my coffee, there was so much debris floating in the sink I was suddenly reminded of the Titanic disaster.
We called the plumber who immediately came to our rescue … four hours later … at high noon. Just as I opened my lunch bag, grabbed my sandwich, and took my first bite, I glanced at the plumber’s shirt as he walked by my desk and saw something splattered all over it that reminded me why I had chosen to be a writer instead of a plumber. I set my sandwich down, made a mental note never to buy liverwurst again, and stepped into the kitchen.
"What seems to be the problem?" I asked the plumber while carefully averting my eyes from his shirt.
"Dunno," he replied.
I needed a little more excitement in my day, so I tried a different technique to attempt to rouse a more lively conversation from my new friend. I said huskily, "Will you have to snake my drain?"
"Dunno," he grunted.
"My, what an extensive repertoire you have to choose from in your vocabulary!" I commented.
"Yep," he muttered as he pulled a large clump of hair out of the drain.
I put my finger over my lips as my cheeks blew out as big as Louis Armstrong’s during a trumpet solo. "I will not throw up … I will not throw up," I chanted quietly.
A co-worker popped her head in the kitchen behind me. "What’s …. Oh my Gosh," she said while holding her hand over her mouth. "What stinks in here?"
"We’re getting our drain snaked," I informed the back of her head as she ran to the bathroom.
The plumber grabbed a big metal rod, turned on a machine, and stuck the rod down in the drain, but not before I swear I heard the drain yell, "I’m a virgin … be gentle!"
As he snaked and snaked some more (not very gently I might add), I yelled over the motor, "Does it take much training to be a plumber?"
"Nope!" he shouted back as he flicked off the machine.
"Is everything okay now with the drain?" I asked when I really wanted to say, "I think you’d better order her some flowers or at least tell her you love her."
"Might be fixed, might not be fixed," he answered.
After I had recovered from the shock of hearing seven words in a row from the plumber, I curiously inquired, "Are you a malpractice attorney in your spare time?"
He shook his head as he lovingly packed up his snake, his wrench, and his dirty towels. He stood up, picked up his buckets full of something I didn’t want to ever encounter again, and handed me a bill for $350.75.
"So, I guess this is it," I said, resigned to the fact that my drain might always be slow from this point on in my life.
"Yep," he answered.
I opened the door for him and pressed the elevator button.
"Thanks for taking care of everything," I sighed.
"You bet," he replied and handed me his card as the elevator doors closed. I smiled as I glanced down at the business card that read Einstein’s Plumbing Service – We’ll Snake Anything.
He may be a man of little words, but he brings a big bucket and does the job that we all don’t want to. He’s our plumber and we love him … splattered shirt and all.