Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Perspective, Part II

Another post about plumbing, you ask? I imagine you rolling your eyes.

Why, yes, I answer. You see, I have a very short list of potential blog topics in my head tonight, and while I know you must be dying to hear about How Much My Sinuses Hurt or Why I Would Trade Trick-or-Treaters for Drunken Barhoppers Any Day of the Year and Especially on Hallowe'en, I have taken the liberty of choosing Why My Plumbing Is Still Unfixed for your edification tonight.

Fortunately for you, it is a short post. My plumbing is still unfixed because the plumber was unable to operate a key--the key my manager left for him, the key that the manager and I were both able to operate successfully in a door unlocking re-enactment some hours later.

It is, of course, possible that the key is only a proximate cause. I would be willing to entertain the notion that the ultimate cause has to do with a curse and my sadly beleaguered head if my sinuses were less stuffy or the barhoppers less noisy.

Now, will you look at that? I've managed to work all three topics into a single post.

Disclaimer: Christine is far less crabby than the foregoing might imply. After all, there's a good possibility she'll come home to working plumbing tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I had an interesting conversation with my twentysomething apartment manager yesterday. I've been having plumbing woes, and since I haven't seen a plumber in two weeks or heard from the manager in a week, and I still have a nonfunctioning shower and a leaky connector that requires the hot-water valve to be turned off except when the hot water is in use, I called for an update.

Said manager brought up two topics I found unsettling in the course of our conversation. The first was, I think, a good-hearted attempt to help me find better ways of coping with the lack of a shower. "So, are you cleaning yourself?" he asked. I was so disconcerted that I actually embarked on an answer before realizing that I had no need or desire to share the details of my ablutions with a young man with whom I have only the most passing of acquaintances.

After an awkward pause, he introduced Unsettling Topic 2: "Now, have you had any flashes of inspiration about what you might have done to cause this [emphasis mine]?"

Unfortunately, I took this as a veiled accusation, and the visions of pecuniary consequences dancing in my head produced a rather sharp (if truthful) response. I didn't do anything; the plumbing is ancient, and it's hardly surprising that the diverter for the shower should just give out or that a connector should spring a leak.

Upon further reflection, however, I'm pretty sure the question wasn't indicative of a plot by the management company to shift maintenance costs to an innocent tenant. I think my young manager simply has yet to learn one of the basic lessons of life: things have a lifespan. Sometimes they are damaged through accident or maliciousness, but sometimes--well, sometimes they just fall apart because they're old.

It does make some sense that it's easier to understand this at 38 than at 22.


After receiving a response or two to this post, I've realized a couple of clarifications are in order:

1. My poor manager is not in any way responsible for the extended delay noted above. He got a plumber out here very promptly; the plumber looked over the situation, muttered something about ordering a part, and disappeared. My manager has spent the intervening weeks vainly trying to reestablish contact with the elusive plumber, calling other plumbers to see if they have the (apparently rare) part on hand, and generally worrying about my showerless state. His only failure was keeping me in the loop.

2. There was not the slightest suggestion of leering in Unsettling Topic 1. It was an odd question, to be sure, but an innocent one; we were both alarmed by the turn the conversation took.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Except for a tragic accident, the 35th annual Bath Heritage Days parade went off without a hitch.

--The Bath (Maine) Times Record, quoted in The New Yorker

Lest you think this post is all fluff, may I direct you to Hendrik Herzog's piece on Hillary Clinton's laugh in the self-same issue of The Best Magazine in the World?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


My intentions were good, but I am just too tired: no post tonight.