Waiting for the Plumber

Nothing to be done.

He should be here.
He didn’t say for sure he’d come.
And if he doesn’t come?
We’ll come back tomorrow.
And then the day after tomorrow.
Possibly.
And so on.
The point is—
Until he comes.
You’re merciless.
We came here yesterday.
Ah no, there you’re mistaken.
What did we do yesterday?
What did we do yesterday?
Yes.
Why . . . (Angrily.) Nothing is certain when you’re about.
In my opinion we were here.
Well?
That makes no difference.
You’re sure it was this evening?
What?
That we were to wait.
He said Saturday. (Pause.) I think.
You think.
I must have made a note of it. (He fumbles in his pockets, bursting with miscellaneous rubbish.)
(very insidious). But what Saturday? And is it Saturday? Is it not rather Sunday? (Pause.) Or Monday? (Pause.) Or Friday?
 It’s not possible!
Or Thursday?
What’ll we do?
If he came yesterday and we weren’t here you may be sure he won’t come again today. 
 
Let’s go.  Yes, let’s go. 
 
My apologies to Sam Beckett.  But he had it right about life.  He also had it right that in the pathos, there is comedy.  
 
We met with the plumber.  We needed to take down the cabinet.  When did he say he would come again?  I thought you were supposed to call.  No, I think we said two weeks.  No, I think he said we should call this week.  We still need to take down the dry wall.  Yes.  Let’s take down the dry wall.  We can’t go camping if he comes.  No.  We need to make clear when he is coming.
 
Yes.  This was a real conversation with Husband.   Completely unintentionally parallel.  Oh, Beckett.  We hardly knew ye.  But we know of what you write.
 
A first weekend in July, 2011.  We wait for babies to be born, a brother to become a father, a father to become a grandfather (again, if he does not pass before), myself to be an aunt; the tomatoes to ripen, the sun to set and temperature to fall.  A plumber who said he would come.  We can not leave, we dare not leave.  We do not leave.  The waiting is all. 

The flags were made in China

4th of July, 2010.  We saw the Karate Kid remake.  It’s a good “family” movie, and I like Jackie Chan.  The editing is well done, the acting adequate.  The subtle love letter to China understandable.  It was the parade this weekend that got me.  No bands this holiday, a lot of car and motorcycle groups, the newly elected GOP reps walking and riding smugly along, and the tea party making a show with flags and loud music.   Later that evening, a friend showed me a photo he had taken of the flags that were being given out by the parade walkers.  It was clearly stamped on the side “made in China”. We laughed a rueful laugh together.

I read on the net in a paper I usually peruse that international corporations in China are getting itchy because of a recent wave of worker strikes.  They are striking over the things all factory workers strike over.  So the factories are closing down or moving inland to poorer regions.  There is only so much of the globe that can be exploited- or is there? How long before the US becomes just another third-world country, and the factories come back to us because we have the cheap, unskilled, easy labor?  I am disgusted with the complete erasure of “the greater good” discussions about what is best for the most people, especially from our elected officials.  I am sick of ethics classes not being required for a B school degree.  I am sick of infrastructure as a taboo subject.

I wanted to hope.  I know a lot of people who did.  It seems if we continue to hope, we fall into a category of stupid: doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results each time.  Our 4th of July parade was the same format, the same route, the same disappointing motley groups of marchers.  Wave that flag, lick the dripping post-parade icecream and keep the desperation deep in your chest tamped down, drowned out, ignored.  “Keep on keepin’ on” as the sign on the back of the monster truck recommended.  Wipe your brow, nod to a neighbor and agree with the shop keeper to “Have a happy 4th”. Postcard from America 2010.