Should Have Stayed on the Road

Being on the road is difficult. Not excruciatingly so but, nonetheless, it is a distinct break in the continuity of one's life, the banalities that we take for granted.

That said, in reflection, coming home when I did was probably not the best choice I could have made. As I said earlier, the gas company (Atmos Energy) had the easements torn up and they were busy installing new pipes and meters, and city inspectors have been involved to approve ever step of the way (which, of course, slows everything down).

I've had hot water (tepid, actually) for a few days now for which I am enormously grateful.

It's off again today: there's still no gas for cooking or hot water today until the city inspector has been called for approval. That may happen today. Or, possibly, Monday. (UPDATE: It seems to be happening today. We're still waiting on the city inspectors.) (FINAL UPDATE: The inspectors have come and gone and the plumbers have hooked up my gas and my water. Hot shower, here I come!)

 Plumber fixing gas

Plumber fixing gas

This entire experience has been more instructive than my very short road trip. Patience is not one of my virtues. Certainly, not the full-time variety. I need my routine. I live by my routine. And nobody seems to give a crap about my routine. (Surprise!) Probably because this utility event has disrupted their own routines.

Getting information from anyone in the chain who has it is quite like pulling teeth — a difficult and painful experience for all involved. Which somewhat explains the reluctance on everyone's part to be forthcoming with that which would help to numb the discomfort: information.

Asking a simple, civil question about when the job will be completed results in a surly, gruff response quite often. It's as if shutting off the downstream flow of information results in a backup of questions and an angry attempt at quieting the rattling backup of questions instead of providing a quick outflow of information and back to work. You'd think plumbers would know better. But, then, they aren't PR experts, either.

The downside is that Atmos Energy is the entity absorbing all the ill will from the frazzled, frayed, and fricasseed nerves. It doesn't matter that it's the private plumbers who are fixing the problems caused or uncovered by this upgrade in gas lines running under the easement or the subcontractors doing the work out in and adjacent to the street, the bad feelings caused by the plugged up lines of information all flow to Atmos Energy.

What's that old expression? S**t flows downhill and payday's on Friday? The latter is inevitable: Atmos is gonna get their money monthly. But the former doesn't have to be true if they would make a little effort to keep people posted, the downhill effluence wouldn't be nearly so unpleasant — for all concerned.

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What have I learned throughout all this? Being on the road but somewhat in control of where I go, when I go, and what I do — though I've planned for very little of it — is vastly preferable to being at home and totally at the mercy of someone or thing (Atmos) who really doesn't care about how their work effects me. You've seen those dolls on the end of a string? Marionettes? That's me for the past two weeks. Not a good feeling.

Better now. Thank you.