Philosophical Talk with My Plumber

Spooky or scary? I’ll give you scary. You’re taking a shower and suddenly you hear, “Glu glu glug glug GURRRGLE glug.” Sure, you say, “I’m just out of my mind, that wasn’t real,” but this time you’re NOT out of your mind and, deeply aware of your sanity, you get out, dry off, get dressed and follow through with step two of denial. “Naw.” But you don’t believe yourself because remember; you’re not out of your mind.

So… You get your phone, you make the call. Because it’s a sparsely populated valley, when you say, “This is Martha Kennedy” Debbie says, “Hi Martha. Uh oh.” After a brief chat, the plan is laid. Tim, the former bronc rider, will show up late tomorrow morning.

But minutes later your Dick Tim Tracy watch alerts you to the reality that Debbie is calling you. “Hi!”

“Hey, Tim says he can come right now.”

“Oh man, that is so great. Tim’s my favorite philosopher.”

“Isn’t he?”

“Yep. Two years ago when everyone was so mean, he came out when I had that terrible mess. He was here awhile. We talked and he said ‘You know what I think? If we can’t be nice to each other, what’s the point of living?'”

“That’s Tim.”

So, reality wrapped up, you head out to the driveway which you DIDN’T shovel, shovel it, uncover the clean outs in that back yard that were covered with snow. You look at your watch. Tim arrives. The job begins. You shut the dogs in your room. Roots. The job is done. Tim packs up and you walk out to the alley with him. “Two years,” you say.

“Yeah. I thought it’d been a while. Finding that other clean out changed everything,” says Tim. “Of course you’re the one who has to pay when there’s a problem, but…”

“It’s weird. The last time (two years ago, flooded back yard, learned that my neighbor’s sewage goes under my yard in an old-fashioned sewage easement, no longer done), well you know how you get angry at people but you don’t want to? Then something happens and you’re not mad any more?”

“Yeah, I know about that.”

“Well, I was mad at my neighbor, but I like her a lot, and I didn’t want to be mad at her. Then she cut down her trees so they wouldn’t fall on my roof.”

“Wow. Well there you go,” said Tim.

“And the other guy who used to live in the green house? Great guy. I liked him too. I didn’t want to be mad at my neighbors.”

“You’re probably paying for their sewer line, though.”

“Yeah. I called the city about that and they told me what to do.”

“That wouldn’t be fun.”

It would involve each of my neighbors digging up their yard and somehow sending their own lines out to the main line in the alley which is beside my house. It would really be a nightmare for all three of us. I’d have to tear out my garage and driveway. OR I could tear up my yard, sidewalk, fences and driveway and send my OWN line out to the alley, but theirs would still go through my yard.

“No. Anyway, I don’t want to be a dick. I just don’t.”

“Nope. There are enough dicks in the world already,” said Tim. “That’s what I think. Sometimes people tell me I’m too nice, but how can that be? The way I figure it you can be a dick or not.”

Tim is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It’s his actual philosophical position, his stance in life.

After a little more deep philosophical discussion on topics of human behavior and choices, Tim the former bronc rider drives into the sunset (actually, down the alley toward the north). Still, the sun is about down, and once that happens, there is no warmth outdoors except what a person carries on their person. You flip your hood over your ears thinking that Tim came to clean out the sewer line when he should’ve been on his way home. He CHOSE to do that because, by tomorrow, there would have been a flood in your yard.

21 thoughts on “Philosophical Talk with My Plumber

  1. We definitely need more Tim’s in the world. If nothing else but to keep us sane.
    What was the final outcome with the neighbor/sewer line situation?

    • No change. I’m not doing anything. If I have to pay $150/year or every two years to keep it clear, I don’t think that’s a big deal. Each of our houses has only one person living in it so it’s not a lot of stuff coming through. Tim is a prince among men and I’m very happy I know him. We’ve talked about so many things and his conversation is always interesting.

  2. Ah, philosophical drain guys. Love ’em. Had one in Seattle named Fritz. Same reason, too – neighbor’s tree roots growing into my sewer line. Fritz and I had fun discussions every couple of years.

    Another way you and I are alike, Martha: we enjoy talking with those who work on our homes, cars, etc. I’ve made some great friends that way. It’s a lesson my father taught me by example: be nice, and even better, be interested in what they’re doing, learn something from them, and the next time you need them, they’ll probably be happy to help you.

    • Yep. My dad — the theoretical mathematician and systems analyst– taught me pretty much the same thing. His idea was someone paid him to do what he was good at. He was happy to pay others to do what they were good at. He got his start in life and made his way in life during university laying tile. He loved it. I think none of us is just ONE thing. I was able to finally secure benefits during my teaching career by taking a clerical job — until I got a contract at San Diego State.

  3. Every year or two is a great solution. I used to have a few clients on an every three month schedule – still cheaper than the alternative. If I were to come out of retirement (I won’t) I’d come and look up Tim for a job or at least a chat;)

    • My plumber had me on a once-a-year schedule, but for the past two years I’ve been lucky. I think you’d enjoy talking to everyone in the company. They’re a family operation, all of them red-haired, friendly and kind. But Tim is definitely the philosopher. For a while they weren’t cleaning out “urban” drains, only septic, but when Tim gave up rodeo and came down here, he took that on. It’s great to see them all at the Colorado Grille, a bunch of red-haired people having a good time. It’s fun and a little disturbing to hear Tim’s rodeo stories. We’ve shared about pain, accidents, surgery and scars.

  4. Son#1 has the same issues – and has some majorly huge trees in his yard and so does the neighbor. The tree root don’t recognize property lines! Glad you’ve been roto-rooted and are draining properly…

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