Drain Man


       (And the lessons of life)


My neighbour had a problem with the drain in her back yard and in order to fix it the drain guys needed access to my garden. That didn’t please me. I didn’t want all that disruption, not to mention digging up my plants at the height of their flowering. But no matter, the work had to be done.

The drain man arrived early last Monday with his young teenage helper in tow; a lovely young man trying to learn the ropes of how to repair drains. It was a summer job, he told me. I stood looking out my kitchen window as the pair began digging and my garden turned into a building site, my mind wandering and wondering.

Whenever I wonder, I think of Dicken’s novel Hard Times and Mr. Gradgrind’s cautionary words to Sissy Jupe, ‘never wonder’ but I do it all the time. I wondered at the wisdom of such a young man doing such a very difficult job. But by the end of the day as I watched the young and the old work together I figured he had been taught some important lessons in life.

 Drains are like your body. Put rubbish in and sooner or later your system will get blocked, and you’ll end up in trouble.
 No matter what the job there will always be crap connected with it so just learn to deal with it.
 No matter what the job it’s always possible to take pride in your work and do a good job.
 If you don’t want to be in the job you’re in, you personally have to do what it takes to get out of it. If you don’t like it, try to do something different. Learn a new skill.

That was it really. When they had finished, and, as we sat over a cup of tea, my drain man proudly showed me the results of his labour. My garden had been put back exactly as it was.

And that taught me my final lesson. Flowers are like people. They can put up with a fair bit of hard knocks and disruption and still manage to survive and to blossom.


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