Two handymen who are rebuilding one residence and struck a gas line and a water line in tandem caused an unnecessary pandemonium. Five Southern California Gas Company trucks issued citations to an entire block of mobile-home residents.
The incident completely shut down utilities for my home and numerous others. My experiences with municipal services, in the past, have taught me not to bother calling their offices for assistance. How important an occasion this was. The entire Mobile Park was under siege.
This blown-out-of-proportion disaster happened because two handymen thought they could work their Mickey-Mouse services for a relative in a Mobile Park. However, they did not calculate utility services on one residential lot against that of multiple and connecting gas- and water-main connections on a 75 year old Mobile Park.
Upon learning from the two book-learned gas officials that I must replace a stove connector and repair the connecting pipe under the house because gas was leaking, I asked, “And?” One official started writing down the requirement as-in a citation. He explained that all gas was now shut down and I must hire a plumber. I was aghast.
“Who is responsible for paying for the plumber? Maybe I should approach the ‘park’ management.”
“There’s no way to isolate the pipe under your stove because all the gas lines under your home run under your house in several directions. And the water heater is shut down, too.”
“In that case, I’m going over to talk to the fool who cut into the lines in the first place.”
The two nodded in agreement. “You could do that.”
Off I went to confront the neighbors. One of the men was still putting away tools and sundry items when I approached.
All my polite manners were long gone. I spoke rationally if not harshly. My staring eyes threw electric currents into his eye sockets and I doubt he could move because he stared back. “You know, you’ve caused me a lot of problems. My gas stove and hot water heater have been cut-off because of the pipes you cut into.”
He approached my accusations with great aplomb. “Well, we probably did you and everybody in this park a favor. This place had gas and propane leaks at almost every place those guys went to. (Pause.) You should thank us for getting them out here. (Pause.) You might all have been blow-up and we could have saved your lives.” (Pause.)
All I could do was allow him to utter one stupid comment after another.
At last, seeing that I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of a reply, he lowered his eyes and hung his head as he slowly turned it from side to side. I kept watching as he said, “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.” Ah…humility in spite of it all.
Many people can garner an emotional anger that ignites a fire from within and spreads molten ashes all over the area. Not many have the power of emboldened cool eyes that drill into the soul of another and silently conquer. Such was the experience.