Some people travel to get away. Some travel to discover cultures. But my travelling destiny gets stuck in plumbing.
Yep. No matter where I go, there’s always a dripping tap, flooding sump or backed up toilet to greet me.
Ahhh, Al! Welcome to our humble home… Perhaps you would like to take a look at our overflowing toilet?
No… not really.
Honestly, it gets you down. Literally everywhere I go there’s a plumbing disaster. Just waiting to make my day.
Most people keep postcards or phone pics of all the places they’ve been. If I did that there’d be albums full of taps/faucets dripping, under bench pipes gushing, and toilet bowls brimming with turds, all bouncing about, ready to go.
“Over the top.”
You can’t get those kind of images out of your head. Instead, you lie awake in some strange bed wondering why you bothered leaving home to do yet another plumbing tour.
And the thing is, I’m not even a plumber.
True. I don’t know a thing about plumbing. Except what I’ve learned, err, on the job.
Why do they keep asking me anyway? I mean, it’s not like I wear overalls. Or have a plumbing badge on me.
“Ah yes, Al. You’re the man who has travelled by plane to fix our plumbing. Come in. Come in!”
Actually no. I came by plane to have a holiday. Oh, never mind…
So show me your toilet.
Yep, it’s not much of a trip unless I’ve solved someone’s blocked or leaking plumbing.
In fact, it has gotten so bad nowadays I come prepared.
Every time I go anywhere I make sure ‘Old Faithful’ comes with me. Who is Old Faithful?
Well that’s my plunger of course. Had a couple of small ones earlier. They fitted in my luggage more easily. But these days, I bring Old Faithful because it’s bigger.
In fact, I’d call it a full family-sized plunger.
And boy does it get a workout! Trying to unblock pipes in people’s places is a very physical thing, I can tell you.
Just like the smell! Phewee! Shocking! Enough to stun a charging rhino. Or make a hippo turn on its toes and run for the mud.
That’s one of the reasons I don’t travel so much anymore. Because there’s just too much s!#% to put up with.
Back in the day I had my work cut out for me in Venice, New York, and Thailand. Each one an experience, I can tell you.
Don’t believe the brochures. Or the online travel guides. Nothing like what they say.
Then there was Orlando. Boy, they had blocked sumps like you wouldn’t believe. Reeked to high heaven. So much for Disneyland.
I must have plumber (or sucker) written on my forehead. Because I always get the same requests. “Can you take a look at my bathroom?”
Well, it looks very nice. I like the tiles. And that’s a big mirror.
“No, look at that damn hand basin.”
Yeah. It’s overflowing, huh.
“Couldn’t you just fix it for me. Won’t take much.”
One time, that “Won’t take much”, turned out to be a 5-hour ordeal. Because Old Faithful pulled up enough hair from the drain hole to make a complete (but very greasy) wig.
I can tell you, though. I’m over it.
That’s why, aside from a trip to Japan (which naturally had it’s own small van plumbing problems), I’m staying put these days.
Lionel thinks it’s hilarious. But I don’t.
It’s super gross.
But, that’s travel for you. Wherever you go, life goes too. And sometimes, not the kind of life you dreamed of.
Plumbing issues are everywhere. Oh, and did I mention door furniture falling off? It’s crazy. Doorhandles that just drop off into your hand.
Like, what is that?
It’s enough with the plumbing. Let’s not go there.