Last week the outdoor spigot would not turn off and water was shooting out. I was so horrified, I dragged a stranger walking on my street and made him find the turn off valve. When I reached my plumber and screamed emergency he told me to turn the water back on and use the hose sprayer as a valve until he could get there. It was not an emergency, he added.
A week went by. My plumber came by this Sunday afternoon. He came unannounced, knocking on the back door.
“I realized that I forgot all about you and hadn’t fixed the outdoor faucet,” he said.
“Huh?” I was the deer caught in headlights times two.
“I’m going to turn the water off to the house,” he said.
“Okay.” Next to my agent, the person that turns me into a catatonic 12 year old is my plumber. I never feel I deserve the plumber. I’m not good enough.
“But it’s Sunday,” I said. “How can I buy the new part?”
“I’m going to fix the one you have,” he said.
It was a pleasant afternoon and there was a breeze on the deck so I sat and watched him and we chatted about things going on in our town. He showed me what was wrong with the faucet. It was the little rubber thing, the washer. He said, “I’m going to give you a beveled washer so it will last longer.”
When he was done, he was in no hurry to leave and we continued to chat. I offered him a beer and he accepted. He wanted to amuse me with plumbing horror stories and began to tell me about basements flooding the way they do in cartoons - all the way to the top. He even went and got his computer and showed me what I can only describe as plumbing porn - horrid things that had happened with do-it-yourselfers.
He also showed me how he could control entire state of the art plumbing systems in far away houses right from his computer. He said, “Look, this guy is taking a shower.” I said, “Could you turn off his water in the middle of it?”
“Yes,” he said, “I could. Right here from my computer.”
It was such a wacky turn of events that he could have told me Chateauneuf du Pape, 2008 would come out of my hose spigot and I would have believed him.
We talked about what we would do with a couple of million dollars and both decided we wouldn’t change much in our lives - maybe take a leisurely trip across the United States in a camper. Finally, I went to get money to pay him and we said our good-byes. A plumber on Sunday afternoon? Arriving on his own and fretting that he had forgotten about me? I’m going to try the faucet and see if it works. Maybe I dreamt the whole thing.