An Inconvenient Adventure

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” –G.K. Chesterton

The dog found it first: a swath of water on the carpet and in front of the fireplace where water shouldn’t be. I looked down on the dog. Did YOU do this, I was about to ask.

But something told me to look up, and I saw the stain along the ceiling, and the rip where the water came through. It was right under the kitchen dishwasher.

I don’t know yet if it is the dishwasher or a pipe near it, though I’m certain whichever plumber arrives will find this new path of least resistance.  The last leak we had involved a call to an insurance company, a person who came in with two loud, noisy fans that were supposed to dry everything out (who then charged WAY too much for the “rental” of these fans), a plumber to find the leak and replace the decaying toilet seal and, finally, painters who the ceiling appear as if the leak never happened.

Funny how it all ended up costing pennies less than our deductible. I paid it with funds I had saved for an adventure–to a beach, a mountain, a room with a view!

Instead, this inconvenience has brought the adventure home. Calls must be made. Prices quoted. Time spent waiting for people to show up. More time spent waiting for people who showed up and then disappeared because they needed a special part, or it was time for lunch, or they had to bid on another job.

A hallmark (pun slightly intended) of our contemporary world is that the so much of what sustains us is out of sight and mind, hidden behind walls, boxes, streamlined pieces of metal and plastic. We typically never think of what brings us our audio and video entertainment, the energy for our lights and gadgets, the water, cool air in summer and warm air in winter–until something happens out of sight and the process by which these things serve us is suddenly revealed in its grim, functional glory. We become sympathetic for pipes, washers (not the machine that cleans the dishes–the flexible rings that help our spigots flow), screws and the screwdrivers that turn them. We wander through the hardware store, astonished at all the little things that are supposed to fit just so, and the big tubs of putty you smear over the cracks to cover it up.

For a few days, we may even dream of wires, that are like pipes, but dryer, and more dangerous. Touch a hot pipe and you may be burned. Touch a hot wire and you can die.

Touch a wall and you may remember the line from A Midsummer’s Night Dream:

“O wall, O sweet and lovely Wall, Show me thy chink to blink through with mine eye!”

This is Shakespeare deliberately offering laughably bad poetry. It is both an exhortation and instruction to the actor playing the wall to make a little “o” with his fingers, so Pyramus (played by the comically inept Bottom, who was previously turned into an ass) may glimpse with his love.

Is it possible, in our not-too-distant future, we may figure out how to grow houses, instead of build them? How different might our lives be if, instead of ignoring what shelters us (until we get the itch to redecorate, or, as in my case, something breaks and must be repaired), we must tend it, live with it symbiotically or just appreciate it as something more than a roof over our head and a place to put our stuff?

What our house be like when it was new? What if we had disagreements and failed to get along?

And how would we care for it when it becomes old?

With such thoughts, the inconvenient adventure begins.


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