March 29: how my pipes reveal the road to total exclusion

I have now had two weeks to ponder on the issue of my pipes and the aftermath of the affair, how it has irrevocably changed the relations between inhabitants in the block. For a number of weeks there had been rumblings coming from the pipes in my flat. The trembling would start up at random moments throughout the day and I had to open up the cold water tap in the kitchen for a moment to silence it. Sometimes when I came home in the evening the pipes were resonating freely. Had it been going on all day in my absence? After a couple of weeks I received an email from the block directors. A number of residents were suffering from rumbling pipes; some even referred to them as hammering. It was finally understood that the problematic flats all lay on an axis running from the general position of my ground floor flat and my neighbours up to the top floor on the fifth or sixth floor, about ten or twelve flats. A plumber was sent in to examine the problem. Keys were left to grant him access. When I got home that afternoon, one of the directors came round to see me. It was my flat that was the culprit. I had a leak in a tap and it was causing all the brouhaha. I called my plumber, had the taps changed and the rumbling stopped. I sent out apologies to the stack of affected residents. Mea culpa. It had been my solitary, weeping tap that had caused the chaos, the sleepless nights, the infuriating days. A tiny leak had led to communal impatience. I had noted the leak but thought that the rumblings were causing the leak and not vice versa, fatally confusing cause and consequence. And now, when I pass the residents in the courtyard they know me. I read the reproachful look in their eyes; they note my sorry hangdog expression. I will be forever known as the man who made the pipes tremble. It may well be the first step on the incremental and inevitable route to total exclusion. Invitations to the annual barbecue will no longer flutter through my letter box. I, of course, avoid these functions anyway. I will no longer be expected at the Annual Residents Meeting. I, of course, do not attend these dreary affairs. Neighbours will no longer merrrily drop off their key with me to let in the man reading the metre. I am surely the last man in the world for such gestures of trust and communal appreciation. Come to think of it, I am well down that road to eccentric loner already. No wonder my Amazon packages always get sent back to the depot when a benevolent neighbour could surely find a temporary shelter for them. Now, however, I know how to control the pipes. In neighbour wars, you never know what might come in handy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s