Saturday, November 6, 2010


That time of year thou mayst in me behold when I resubscribe to home delivery of the Times. The home-delivery week seems to start on Wednesday, so for several years now my first home-delivered copy has carried the results of Election Day. How sad to see on the front page the first unflattering picture of Barack Obama.

It was not election news that I craved so much as the weather page. I know there are other sources for the weather, but I like the graph in the Times that predicts the high and low temperature for the next several days. As soon as that line plunges into the thirties, I start worrying about turning the water off in Rockaway. As usual, I am torn between pulling the plug (literally) and stretching the season. Last year, I let it go too long, and when I called the plumber, he had already decamped for Florida. But he very sweetly sent his son the accountant to turn off my water. This year I called early, and it turns out Jimmy isn't going to Florida till January.

I cancelled my first appointment, for November 1st, All Saints Day (alternate side suspended), hoping to reschedule for Thursday, but the plumber said it was going to rain. At least that meant it wasn’t cold enough for the pipes to freeze. But the forecast (and I did consult other sources at this point) showed the temperature dipping as low as 30 over the weekend. (The Times held at a conservative 34.) We set a tentative date for Friday, November 5th, Diwali (alternate side suspended), agreeing to talk the night before to confirm.

Jimmy was right about Thursday: it poured and was gloomy. I began to focus more on precipitation than temperature: on Friday there was a chance of rain, but even if it didn’t rain, the ground would still be wet. I hated to think of my plumber, who is like an ancient Chinese ancestor (in jeans, and minus the beard), lying on the wet earth beneath the bungalow. And considering that the forecast was getting milder, I asked, when I called, if he would prefer to postpone again till next Thursday (recycling day in Rockaway; I could get all the newspapers and beer bottles out for the winter). He agreed, and I was feeling quite beneficent: I was giving my plumber Diwali off. Also, I didn't have to leave the Tuesday-Friday spot I found last Sunday, which was good for the whole week.

Later, I realized I’d rescheduled him for Veterans Day (alternate side suspended). I hope he's not a veteran. And that it doesn't rain.

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