My sister married a plumber. He was a very successful plumber, enough so to have an expensive waterskiing boat, several cars and a large house. But he wasn’t like me.
Here’s the back story. By the time I met my brother-in-law, I was on the fast track, building a business, flying from coast to coast for meetings, late night conference calls, early morning breakfasts. I was, at least in my mind, the image of what success looks like. I did everything fast, after all, business is a 24-7 game and I was playing it hard.
Larry, on the other hand, did everything slow. He talked slow. He moved slow. He was meticulous and methodical. It seemed like it took ages for him to get his point across, especially to someone like me who had a habit of finishing people’s thoughts and sentences for them. To me, he was boring!
Needless to say, I didn’t go out of my way to spend time with my sister and her husband. Too busy to hang around with “boring people”.
Fast Forward 20 Years:
The toilet in the upstairs bathroom has stopped flushing and after a careful examination (pulling off the lid and peaking in) I surmised that the flushing value had died of old age and physical abuse. So off to the hardware store for a new unit. Actually, it took three trips! The first unit I bought was too tall for the cistern but I got it right on the second trip. But then the nut on the underside of the cistern was too large for my little wrench, so a third trip was required. A little thought popped into my head: “I bet my brother-in-law wouldn’t have wasted so much time!”
Okay, so the process seems pretty straight forward. Drain the cistern, unscrew the old siphon flushing unit, pop in the new one, tighten the screws, and go back to watching the football game. Now draining a cistern of all the water is not a one shot process. In fact, it is slow and requires patience and focus. First to scoop out the remaining water after the last flush, then take a sponge and slowly soak up all the residual water.
Two hours later!
The new unit is in, flushing easily and everything is back to normal. Except for a small leak where the new unit is bolted to the bottom of the tank. UGGH!
As I sat on the bathroom floor, I had a sudden insight. I now totally understood why my brother-in-law was so calm, measured and methodical. You can’t rush plumbing! It takes a certain type of personality to be a plumber, and he was an excellent plumber. My personality type does not equal plumbing excellence!
After an afternoon of “walking a mile in a plumber’s shoes”, I am humbled! I used to think people who were different from me were somehow “defective”. I guess it was me who was the defective one. Judgement and criticism replaced with admiration and appreciation.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress