Originally Posted Thursday, March 13, 2014
On a happy note--the tulips enjoyed the tonic water, I think. They have grown and opened and done what cut tulips are supposed to do. And tonic water has the added advantage of being clear in the vase and thus unobtrusive. There is more I can turn into a happy report as well. My new dishwasher arrived yesterday. It is a gem. The fellow who came to install it was older than I, hair completely white, his body a bit stiff. I wondered at his age and how he does it. He asked me where the breaker box was and I took him around the house. When he opened the lid--KABOOM!--sparks flew, there was a loud explosion, and smoke charred the box. He was glad he didn't have a firm grip on the lid, he said. I was hoping his heart was good. It took out the power to about 1/4 of the house including the air conditioner. Fortunately, the day was pleasant if a little humid. He was able to continue the installation while I called electricians.
Did you know there was a shortage of electricians? I called four big places and none of them could send anyone out that day. Finally I found one that thought they might be able to send one out in the afternoon. I spent the rest of the day fretting. What if he had to replace the box? Surely he couldn't do that in a single day. I would be without television, heat and a.c. (you need both this time of year in my hometown). Fortunately, I still had the internet. I needed it as I sat and waited for the electrician's call. And in the very late afternoon, he finally arrived. With trepidation and worry, I showed him the box and told him what happened.
"The screw probably touched a wire when you opened it," he said.
I wondered if this was bad or good. He opened the front of the box and said, "Yes." He showed me the wire, the plastic cap melted completely. He was a good man. It took him five minutes to fix the problem. What a fellow!
Of course the bill was $114.00.
I decided to be happy about it rather than lament. Everything was working. I'd lost the day, but I'd gained. . . something. I had a new dishwasher. I called my mother who got the same one as I, or rather I got the same one as she.
"Did yours get installed? How old do you think the installer was?"
"You asked him?"
"Jesus. I don't think I'd want to do what he does. He was down on his back and belly looking around and hooking things up."
"He says he does a couple a day."
It cost $90 for him to bring the new one, take the old one, and install everything.
"I wonder how much of that money he gets to keep. I tipped him $10 since he almost got killed. The money is probably all under the table. He's got to be getting social security."
Everybody is not like me. Hardly anyone is. I am lazy and not practical. I'd bet the fellow never once in his life thought to himself, "I feel depressed," let alone said it out loud to anyone. Practical Paul, the stuff that made the country great. Any country. Guys like him are the backbone. Me. . . I'm a brain. That's how I see it, anyway. There are backbones and there are brains, and then there are rotten little extremities that need to be doctored.
In the late afternoon, I went to the studio where I had planned to work all day. I did some organizing and sleeving of prints and talked to the artist in the studio across the lot behind me. I'd lost a day that wouldn't come back, but it turned out o.k. I poured a vodka and sat on the studio couch and thought about things. I looked at two film cameras that hadn't worked when I tried to shoot outside the day before and figured out what was wrong. I un-boxed a strobe light I had bought on eBay to replace one that has been acting squirrely. I marveled at the number of big, beautiful prints I have. Where did they all come from? When? How many hours do I have invested in making all of this? It felt good. It felt like no one had ever done this much. I didn't think anyone could ever catch up. That is what happens when you work at a thing, when you are diligent.
I began to think about dinner. I needed to buy coffee beans before I went home. I thought that I would make something simple and light. In this new time, it was lighter and later than I thought. At eight o'clock, there was still the afterglow of the day. I was alright, I thought. Everything turned out O.K.