Monday, October 12, 2015

"A First World Problem...But It Still Drives Me Crazy"

The definition of a “First World Problem” – in this case it’s a plumbing problem – is that anyone in the Third World would be thrilled if that were the worst thing they would have to put up with.

“We squat in a culvert!”

“And by the way, we could use some more food.” 

“And an explanation for why we are ignominiously relegated to the Third World when there is no country we are aware of inhabiting the Second.”

May I continue, please?

“Fine.  Tell us of your terrible suffering.”

Well, now I’ll just look petty and entitled.


But I will go for it anyway.  Oh, man.  This is going to sound pathetic. 

“Guilt is gonna getcha
Guilt is gonna getcha….”

I got it, the “Guilt Issue” having been covered in an earlier post entitled, “I Have Eleven Belts.” 

(It is possible they are all about guilt.)

Okay… barreling ahead…

We have three bathrooms.  And in each of those bathrooms, of course, there’s a sink.  (Note:  I do not know how the situation I am about to describe to you came about, but I am informed that it is an expensive proposition to ameliorate.)

Each of the sinks has two handles – the “Hot” handle on the left delivering hot water, the “Cold” handle on the right delivering cold water.

The thing is, however…

In the sink in our Master Bathroom, to access the hot water, you turn the left handle to the left.  To access the cold water, you turn the right handle to the right.

Easy-peasy, right?

Not so fast.

In our ground floor bathroom, it’s different.  To access the hot water in our ground floor bathroom, you still turn the left handle to the left.  But to access the cold water, you have to turn the right handle to the left as well. 

Our basement bathroom sink is also a “Lefty-Lefty” operation – meaning that two of our sinks work the same way, whereas the third one works differently.  The result?  I have on numerous occasions found myself turning the right handle to the right on the sink where you are required to turn the right handle to the left, determining that the handle I was turning in the wrong direction was suddenly broken.

Compounding this difficulty is the shower in our basement bathroom…

“You’re killing me, Earlo!”

I am simply telling the story.  In that basement shower, the handles have inexplicably been arranged so that they turn towards each other – the hot water left handle turning to the right, the cold water right handle turning to the left. 

You can imagine the repercussions of this discombobulating arrangement.  You turn the handle the wrong way and risk seriously scalding yourself, or, going the wrong way in the other direction, freezing your petunias.  (Note:  I have personally experienced both.)

I have a paralleling story about our three toilet seats – one that goes up and down automatically, one that is manual up but goes automatically down and one that’s entirely manual, and the consternation one incurs standing over the “Manual” which I have mistaken for the “Automatic” and wondering,

“Why isn’t it doing anything?”

But I shall not elaborate on that annoyance out of respect for certain followers…

“Thank you.  You are very considerate.”

I realize I should be thankful for my three bathrooms and three sinks…

“And a shower.”

Actually two showers.

“And a house.”

Message received.  Did I not tell you I wrote “I Have Eleven Belts”? 

Have I mentioned I donate regularly to the “Saint Joseph’s Indian School” in South Dakota?

“Nice, if you are a South Dakotan Indian student.  But it does absolutely nothing for me.” 

You know what?  I am not taking this alone.  We are all in it together.  So…

What exactly is the appropriate response?

Relevant Addendum:  Comedian Louie C.K. does a riff concerning this issue, saying – I am paraphrasing here – that he drives an Infiniti, realizing that if he drove a less luxurious car he could donate the difference in the cost to the needy, blithely concluding,

“But I don’t.”

An explosive joke, illuminating the reality of the First World conundrum.  Unfortunately, it does not help our Third World Italics Person any more than my toilet story does.  (Comedians are rarely problem solvers.  They simply mention the issue in their act and then go partying with their friends.)

You non-comedians out there…

Perhaps you have a more productive solution.


The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Left handed people have a similar issue. because we are left handed we usually will grab/turn the handle on the left, which is almost always the hot water handle, and often put our hands under the water that could already be scolding. Ouch.

Easy solution which will call for a plumber... make all the handle go in the same direction.
put up a laminated card with simple directions.

YOUR Situation DOES sound like a LARRY DAVID show....

James said...

That's just weird! I'd say you had 2 different installers, at one of whom is an amateur. My sinks (3) all have the single lever which I swivel left for hot, etc. But the tub does have a pair of round knobs. Both knobs have to be turned counter-clockwise to be turned on.

I really expected the Jays to pound some TX pitching, and they may still do that. But losing the first 2 at home and scoring only 4 runs in a 14 inning game...TX pitching just isn't that good! Well, it was last week, gotta give some kudos I guess. Go Jays!

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Easy out Earl:

It'd take me 20 minutes...but I'm up in Oregon, so the house call would cost you about $1,500 with airfare, hotel and meals...

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I think the way it went was that Europe was the Old World. North America, when the Europeans eventually found it, was the New World. So obviously then the rest of the world showed up and it became the Third World and Europe became the First World. The Second World is obviously North America. It's just that you know Americans, they can't take being number two at *anything* so of course they'd have to be part of the First World, logic be damned.

For the faucets, I suggest painting arrows on the wall.