Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Now, while I can’t say this is necessarily true for love and marriage, the third time seemed to do the trick for convincing the nice fellow from the local building inspection office to approve the integrity of the wiring and electrical system in the house. Unofficially, we passed our electrical and plumbing inspections yesterday. Big sigh of relief.

The cynic in me says the poor inspector was just tired of combing through the unintelligible mess of the construction process, but K, being the sweet-natured optimist she is, credits Carl.

Carl is the electrician dispatched to the house to resolve all remaining electrical issues on Monday, just in time for the Tuesday morning inspection. Aside from being a capable and competent electrician, Carl apparently has quite a story to tell. And he told it to K. His whole life story. Two brain surgeries. Divorce. Previous vocational aspirations. History of electrical wiring experience. His own personal homebuilding journey.

Here is the thing: people love K. Without an ounce of hubris, I say that babies and animals nearly universally take a shine to me. Without meaning offense to the intelligence of any, note the difference: creatures who can talk gravitate toward K; creatures who do not, like me.

People don’t just love K, they love to talk to her. And talk, and talk, and talk. I don’t blame them – I myself love talking to her, and most people who spend about five minutes with me figure out quite quickly that I am a talker. I have often thought my snide observations about people talking to K evolved from a jealousy – not from a perceived threat so much as an assertion of my perceived right of first refusal to her attention. “Hey, back off, mister – that’s my K to talk to!”

Although I am not surprised at the comfort others find in talking to K, I am sometimes taken aback at the topics, level of detail, and lack of sensitivity people feel compelled to share with her. On more than one occasion, I have found myself thinking, “If so-and-so said something like that to me, it would’ve been the last thing said for a gooooood long time.” When I find myself coming upon K in the midst of a grocery aisle confessional, the lines from one of my favorite movies, Harold and Maude, run through my head. In the movie, Harold says to Maude, “You sure have a way with people.” To which Maude responds, “Well, they’re my species!”

Of course, as Carl was sharing his life story with K under the pretense of asking her advice on something (that’s another thing – people often turn to K for advice, and unlike the people who call me for the purpose of reinforcing their pre-ordained plan of action, people seem to actually listen to and take K’s advice), I was at work, so it’s not like he was cutting into my talk time. With the rigors of my Monday at work, I was in the infrequent mood where I had nearly talked myself out for the day, so I wasn’t in the space to thrill and delight K with my usual banter and repartee. Carl’s life was an interesting byline for the day, and more importantly, his good work has cleared the way for what we hope to be real progress on our own homebuilding journey.

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