Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Standard Plumbing

Plumbing supply places, like auto parts stores, have long
counters with bar stools for the customers. When I came in, the
man behind the counter was telling a story about the time he
and his friends had decided to celebrate getting home from
Vietnam and had bought a lot of Scotch and given one bottle to
a wino who drank half of it all at once and dropped dead.
Then the man, with Walter stitched on his shirt, asked what he
could do for me and I told him I had come to buy a toilet, the
cheapest, most basic toilet they had. He wanted to know if I
was putting it in one of my apartments or something and I said
no, it was for my own house and I was, oddly enough, buying
a toilet for the first time because we were installing indoor
plumbing. The other houses I'd lived in had always come with
toilets and I'd never given much thought to choosing one,
though today I'd kind of decided I wanted bone, not white. So,
in the process of getting the bowl and the tank and the seat and
some pipes and gaskets from the warehouse, we got to talking
about our outhouses and he allowed as how the one he had in
Florida when he was kid in the fifties hadn't been all that
bad, except for the bugs and sometimes a snake, and we both
agreed that there are times out there when you see things from
an unusual vantage, for instance: that view of the night sky in
winter is unparalleled.

Marie Harris

2:57 AM