The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Friday, June 25, 2004

Bitch

The work on my house never stops. Well, that's not true. It stops for long periods of time, and then when someone says they will come and visit, I fly into a flurry of activity in an effort to make the place presentable. Many of my projects have involved plumbing, either directly or indirectly. For instance, right now I'm putting in a new floor. That's not plumbing, you say. Yes, but before I can do that, I have to get everything off of the old floor, and that involves quite a bit of plumbing: first I had to remove the sink that was in there; then I had to drain the radiators; then I had to remove the radiator from the room; all of that involved water (stoppage) and pipes. Luckily for me, my neighbor is a master plumber. Most of the time, I ask him for advice. Frequently enough, I don't understand what the hell he's talking about, and he comes over to either A) show me or B) actually do it.

My neighbor, we'll call him Angelo, is a 50-something Italian immigrant. He's a wonderful man, married 26 years to the neighborhood gossip queen, with two 20-something children who both still live in the neighborhood. Angelo is a smart, hard-working guy who started out blue collar and has moved up the ranks of state employement to the lower realms of upper management. He doesn't do any professional plumbing anymore--he doesn't have to. That's what the people who work for him do. And although he doesn't help other people in the neighborhood, he helps me because I am cute and he likes me. I wish he was my dad, and maybe I'm kidding myself, but I think he sees me as kind of like a weird combination of a daughter and a son.

He has let me assist him with various plumbing projects on the house he bought as a rental property. He's a great teacher, and I've learned so much from him--including a few mannerisms when working with pipes.

Whenever a pipe or tool is being difficult (which happens all the time when you're working with 100 year old pipes), he says, "You bitch." In order to get the phrase right, you have to draw out the "you," take a slight pause, and sort of softly spit out the "bitch." There are other variations. For instance, "Come on, bitch," and sometimes just, "Bitch."

Plumbing always seemed very masculine to me: long, hard pipes snaking all around. Because of Angelo's constant referral to the pipes in a feminine way, I now see it more like the "plumbing" that makes up a woman's reproductive organs.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, even for Angelo. As he explained to me the first time he helped me, "Plumbing is just like sex. You've got male ends and female ends, and you need lubrication," he said, holding up a can of pipe dope, "to make it all work. Just like sex, without lubrication, plumbing isn't going to work."

I wonder if the fact that plumbing is Angelo's profession is what makes him okay with me being gay. A middle-aged, Catholic, Italian immigrant is not someone I would automatically assume is fine with my sexual preference. Then I think about plumbing. Yes, the male end does go into the female end. But if you need to get two female ends together, plumbing has no problem with that. Put on a female-to-male adapter, and you're all set.

I was in my former kitchen yesterday. As I mentioned earlier, I need to put down a new floor, which involves removing the radiator in there first. As I practically jumped up and down on the pipe wrench, trying to unscrew a coupling that had been in place for over 20 years and been painted over too many times to count, I found myself mumbling under my breath, "Come on, bitch." Then I took a blow torch to it. "How do you like that, bitch?" I asked before going back to the wrench. After 10 or 15 minutes without success, I said, "Alright, bitch, it isn't over yet." I got out my sawzall and cut the pipe instead of unscrewing it. "Take that, bitch," I said. As I dragged the radiator out of there, I knew Angelo would have been proud of me.

8 Comments:

  • Cussing and construction/renovation has a long and fabled history... dating back all the way to the ancient Egyptians and those "fucking" blocks they used to build their "stupid shit" triangle buildings.

    By Blogger Dan, at 11:45 AM, June 25, 2004  

  • Cussing and construction/renovation has a long and fabled history... dating back all the way to the ancient Egyptians and those "fucking" blocks they used to build their "stupid shit" triangle buildings.

    By Blogger Dan, at 11:45 AM, June 25, 2004  

  • Cussing and construction/renovation has a long and fabled history... dating back all the way to the ancient Egyptians and those "fucking" blocks they used to build their "stupid shit" triangle buildings.

    By Blogger Dan, at 11:45 AM, June 25, 2004  

  • I laughed. Funny post. Great writing.

    As far as home improvement projects are concerned, I have hav a friend that says the they're never quite finished until you hand the keys over to the next owner.

    By Blogger NotCuredYet, at 3:27 PM, June 25, 2004  

  • How the fuck did that happen? I don't normally stutter. Sorry for the wierd-ass grammer.

    By Blogger NotCuredYet, at 3:29 PM, June 25, 2004  

  • Hey there hot chickey!
    Do you watch Six Feet Under? There was a great blow job scene involving a plumber and one of the main male characters last week. Something about tools and wrenches. LOL
    -Keep up the great posts, you have a lot of insight and wisdom to share, and we enjoy reading it!

    By Blogger Vadergrrrl, at 3:33 PM, June 25, 2004  

  • Dan: I love a triple post; it makes me look popular. And it was funny each time I read it. Fucking blocks. Stupid shit triangle buildings. Too true LOL

    NotCuredYet: I'm very afraid that you're right. I can't imagine that I'll finish all of my projects before we get the heck out of here, especially since by the time I finish one thing, I've got three new ideas for some other part of the house!

    Vadergrrrl: I don't have HBO. I got Showtime for Queer as Folk and The L Word. One premium channel is all the cable bill will handle right now, but I am VERY curious about Six Feet Under. I might have to rent it. And thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you like my blog, even though it doesn't have a bibliography like yours does! LOL

    By Blogger Oz, at 3:53 PM, June 25, 2004  

  • I didn't mean to triple post. It kept giving me errors. But as long as you're happy...

    By Blogger Dan, at 4:35 PM, June 25, 2004  

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