Monday, January 08, 2007

What Would I Do If I Was Me?

Of my two choices for a local hardware store, I have decided on True Value. Both options are chains, they are in a three mile radius of my house, and they carry the same merchandise at the same prices. While True Value has yet to live up to its name (they overcharge for batteries and seem to have no regard for my time), it is the staff of Store #6 that keeps me coming back.

The electrical department is not run by the 17-year-old who wants to be an electrician and has an answer to any question about wiring (even the question of how many volts of electricity it takes to kill a baby*.) No, due to an interesting management decision, the future electrician works the cash register, and the department is run by a middle-aged Italian man in high-waisted, light denim jeans, who apparently has a very cursory understanding of electricity, and who expresses what little he does know in long-winded, unsubstantiated opinions.

I love this man.

When a fuse blew out on a row of red Christmas lights that was strung across our back fence, I asked if there was a way to rewire the plug. His response: "What would I do if I was me?" I don't know. What WOULD you do if you were you? His brilliant existential question launched him into a heavily-accented monologue about how big explosions occur when you try to connect a male with another male, and it's good to start with a female and end with a male, and it's really bad to connect three males. I interpreted that it was best to just replace the entire strand of lights.

When asked whether it was a good idea to wrap all the plugs in electrical tape to protect against the elements, he said that he personally has never had a fire at his apartment. Not feeling like his luck was the strongest of foundations, my next question was which aisle had electrical tape.

My mom recently went to True Value to purchase a new coffee maker. As my Italian electrician maneuvered the desired machine off of the very top shelf and out from below another box (without the use of a ladder), he kept telling my mom that he wakes up every morning before 10. Since most of the world is up before 10, with the exception of college students and the depressed, my mom was not impressed and did not pretend to be. He continued to repeat the statement until he elicited the proper response. "I wake up 'fore ten. I wake up 'fore ten. I have to be at my first job by 5, so I wake up every morning at 4:10."

*Answer: I believe about 350 volts. I don't remember exactly, and I feel weird about calling him and asking.


Blogger Dan said...

With all due respect to the future electrician True Value stock clerk, the voltage required to kill a baby is irrelevant. Clearly, he was parsing his vast knowledge of electricity down to layman’s terms, as a baby correctly placed into a low-voltage circuit could be killed, given a high enough current.

It’s good to have you back, Leighton.

~Dan the Man

Oh, and were you at the Rose Bowl on December 2? Oh yeah. Go Bruins.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Delta Guru said...

I am glad to read me writing again. I mean you are glad to be reading you again. Or something.

1:11 PM  

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