Monday, March 17, 2008
ON THE RARITY OF FAUCET HANDLES
This afternoon, after spending the morning trying to buy just the handle for the faucet that controls the water line to our house because the water cooperative upgraded the system recently and suddenly our water pressure was too high, came out of the faucet like a fire hose, which can be disconcerting at 5 am when you’re just bending over in quotidian innocence to freshen your face and you’re met by Niagara Falls so I went out this morning to the little stone grotto and uncovered the faucet to turn it down and the ancient thing just crumbled in my hand like this was subterranean Rome or something so there I was out in a morning that had been rich in other plans trying to find a faucet handle store and being guided from mystified shops to ever smaller, nonplussed shops, at last to a tucked-away plumbing supply house I’d driven by a thousand times but never noticed because I’d always been rich in faucet handles, and there I showed the guy in the parking lot the tissue-wrapped powdery relic and asked if he had any faucet handles this size, at which he raised an eyebrow or two, then did that Japanese tooth-hissing sound that means anything from we’re out of beer to you have a week to live, it’s a dreaded sound in every instance and this was one, at last he said that they don’t sell handles separately from the faucet unit itself and the yen signs began to climb in my head because no way was I myself going to replace the entire underground faucet mechanism I'd have to hire a plumber, which anyway was insane when all I needed was a handle but we now live in a world we have never lived in before, ruled to a new extent by plumbers, and in the way of things it appeared there was no way out, faucetwise, plus the fact of that ominous hiss, followed by a pause, and he began walking meditatively toward the warehouse, I following, sad relic in hand, where from a big binful of entire faucets he took out a tauntingly brand new faucet, odd how faucets can suddenly taunt, it had a bright red, uncomfortably appealing handle on it of exactly the size and type I needed but did not even remotely wish to use in toto, and he said well I’ll just sell you the handle then. We went out to his truck and he got a tool to remove the luscious ruby handle, I confirmed the size, still in disbelief and asked how much, when he did the hiss again, a quick one, said we never sell this separately, so I don’t know… 200 yen I guess (2 dollars). Bless him and all his family for as long as there are faucets.
Oh yeah, about the afternoon... I’ll get to that maybe tomorrow after I wash my face in tranquility.