April 06, 2005

An unlikely place to find mystery.

We all know that there are some things we cannot know. Some things are so deeply mysterious that they must be shrouded in secrecy and kept from those who cannot appreciate them. One of these things is sewage.

I've just discovered that it isn't possible to call a major plumber in the city of San Francisco and receive any information about their going rates for plumbing service. Estimates are blasphemy. The mysteries must be revealed in person. It isn't possible, for instance, to say, "The wax seal at floor level on my toilet is broken," and hear a loose, rounded-the-nearest-$50 estimate of how much the last person with a broken wax seal might have paid. The only way to get any numbers is to wait until the plumber comes out and looks at your problem and comes up with an estimate in person.

It's brilliant. The persuasive power of the plumber standing in your flooded bathroom waving an estimate is, well, powerful. Even if you don't like the estimate, you've got the flooded bathroom, you've got the guy right there, and no other place will come out to give you a different number in less than 45 minutes. If you've consumed at least 8 ounces of any kind of beverage in the last two hours, unless you're very good friends with your next-door neighbors, there's about a 95% chance you'll sigh and tell him to just get it over with.

Never assume that someone whose work doesn't require extensive education isn't intelligent. This is fucking genius.

Posted by dianna at April 6, 2005 03:40 PM

You rent. What the fuck do you care what a plumber costs? That's 100% the financial obligation of the landlord. Call the plumber over, have him fix it, pay him, and send in your rent less the cost along with the reciept.

I mean come on, you even live in Berkeley, home of the most significant renter's rights anywhere.

Posted by: gene at April 6, 2005 04:36 PM

She's at work.

Posted by: Jacob at April 6, 2005 04:43 PM


I was wondering why she was calling a San Franciscan plumber. Like there aren't any in Berkeley.

I guess I've never taken ownership of a company bathroom to the point of thinking of it as my bathroom, or even taken ownership of a job to the point of thinking of the tenants on a different floor as next-door neighboors.

Posted by: gene at April 6, 2005 04:59 PM

Nooo, no, you misunderstand me, Gene. The hypothetical scenario with the flooded bathroom and the next-door neighbors was just that, hypothetical. All I was doing was, as instructed, calling around to try to get estimates. It seemed unnecessary to say "my company's bathroom" while on the phone with the various plumbers when I could save myself two seconds per call by just calling it my bathroom, so I did indeed say "my bathroom". I think I used the definite article rather than the possessive when referring to the toilet, though (that's "the toilet", never "your toilet").

Posted by: Dianna at April 6, 2005 06:35 PM