Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Way of Clogged Sinks

August 17th, 2017 by G.

I fixed a stopped-up sink this morning. Ladle out the sink water, put a pan under the trap, get a wrench, remove the trap, snake the line, run some water, snake the line, run some water, reattach everything, pour boiling hot water down for good measure. It took about an hour. It felt routine.

I unclogged the same sink last year. It didn’t feel routine then. It took me several tries on several days. I had several false starts, trips to the hardware store to get a better snake, and a lot of internet reading and handyman conversations. And partly it took awhile because I was intimidated and so I extemporized with expedients. I poured chemical stuff down hoping that would do the trick. I got frustrated. Twice I had to quit to cool down.

But this time, it felt routine. I found myself asking why’d I’d made such a girly fuss last time.

Early this spring our toilet clogged. I tried plunging it repeatedly and snaked it several times. And chemicals and all sorts of expedients. It was a problem for several weeks and for a full week completely unmanageable while I flailed around. I was pretty frustrated and I was on the point of calling a plumber. Finally I unscrewed the toilet from its based, hefted it up, and discovered a large plastic dinosaur jammed in. I hooked it out, put a new wax ring on the base, and screwed the toilet back on. Start to finish, it took me 15 minutes. 40 minutes, if you include buying the new wax ring.

If one of my toilet clogs again, I’ll plunge it, then snake it, and if it’s still clogged, I’ll pop the toilet off right then. It will take me an hour tops. It will be routine.

Something interesting about glory is that it is oddly detached from the facts that create it. The soldiers at Gettysburg were just exhausted. They did not thrill with glory. The handcart pioneers, whose glory is immortal, dragged into Salt Lake as human wrecks. They were not fizzing.

Its witnesses to the glorious acts who feel the glory, and the people who have earned the glory themselves only experience it later, usually much later, when they can look back on it. The Grima Wormtongues of the world make much of this and tell the lying tale that glory doesn’t exist because it isn’t felt at the moment.

The first time I unclogged the sink, I did not feel glory. I was just exhausted. And maybe a bit on tenterhooks convinced that the sink would be clogged up again the next morning.

This time, the first time it was routine, I experienced some householder glory. I felt my oats.

When an activity becomes routine, it means you’ve developed a new skill. You have expanded your ability. You have new capital. That is glorious.

At the same time, routine can be spiritually deadening. The first time its routine is glorious. The dozenth time takes a real effort to remember your hard won capability and take satisfaction in a job well done.

We are here to make new skills for ourselves, but not to take those new skills for granted. That is a hard nut to crack.

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August 17th, 2017 11:02:57
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