The things that own us


We are some 15 years into our present home, you would have to ask my wife the exact date, and shortly after moving in, I set about making general repairs; the first of which was the shower faucets, which dripped, would not lend itself to being shut off.

After several failed attempts to locate the parts from such places as Lowes/Home Depot, I set down and started calling plumbing supply stores from the phone directory.

By chance, I made contact with A-1 plumbing supplies.

I had removed the part and took it inside the store. The place was a room fronted by a counter where two men stood whom didn’t strike me as plumbers; they had more of an academic flair than someone whom worked on pipes and such things that flush.

About every three years or so now, it has become my task to drive to their store and to pay for replacement parts.

Invariably, I forget the name of the part.

This time, I showed him  a picture and he kind of scoffed and said that could be one of hundred parts.

I asked him to start naming them; he listed off about six when I stopped him: that’s it- Eljer. He then went behind him into a door-less opening that gave way to a series of tall steel framed shelves.

As he stood before me, I watched him take apart each piece and from a canister he removed from a drawer beneath his waistline, opened it and from the same drawer produced a small brush that he used to apply grease from the canister in a way you would think that he was painting his master piece.

It was the hallmark of my day: to witness such devout attention to a obsolescent object. In a seemingly mindless fashion, I watched as he would put the parts back together with me wanting to say, there you left that piece off, but then of its own volition his hand would self correct the part into place.









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