Friday, October 01, 2010

Did Somebody Order A Plumber?

I'm always impressed when I use my Dutch and get what I wanted. Today I ordered a plumber (loodgieter, or "lead pourer") and within an hour one was at my door. Plumbers normally only arrive this fast in porn films. In fact there they usually turn up uninvited (but definitely welcome).

Ours was too gumpy to be in a porn movie, but he came bearing gadgets. Modern plumbing has changed a lot since the Victorian days when plumbers would send small foetuses down the pipes to clean them. Nowadays, the chief tool of the trade is an ultra-powerful vacuum cleaner that will suck pretty much anything out of the drain. I expected to hear the squeak of sewer rats and the clatter of downstairs' washing up. But instead we got the occasional wet thump of hair, rice, pasta, various unclogging agents, uncategorizable grey slime and some more hair. I blame my girlfriend and our cats for this hair, despite the fact I'm the hairiest thing in the house.

The grumpy chap grew less grumpy the more he got to use his vacuum cleaner and the less clogged our pipes became. Until he was quite chirpy as he dragged his stuff back down the stairs.

We had a great old conversation circled solely on our drains, and our previous efforts and his current efforts to clear them. His strong accent and use of the vernacular meant I didn't always understand him and my inability to find the words I needed meant I spoke without committing too much content. Sometimes I had a blank expression that said, "I didn't understand that," and sometimes he had a blank expression that said, "That made no sense." But in my mind we were two Oscar Wilde characters exchanging witticisms. But actually our dialogue was much more stilted and banal. A lot more like the dialogue in a porn film. But without the undercurrent of sex and the over-suggestiveness. At least I hope so. I never intended there to be any of that, of course, but with my control over the Dutch language, who knows how it came out. It would explain why he got so chirpy. Oh, God! Now, I can't be sure I didn't say something like "That's quite a powerful suction device you've got there; I can't wait for you to wrap it round my piping and start clearing it out." Oh, God!!! And I thought it had gone so well.


Citizen_Stu said...

Maybe he became more happy because what was the sound of wet hair hitting the back of the vacuum to you was the sound of money and how much you would have to pay him to him.

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