Last week was a bit hectic here at Chez Loudshoes; the Mister was bulldozed by another kidney stone attack, which resulted in two trips to the hospital, there was a skunk lurking around our front door all week, which made me very twitchy, and the weather got cold really fast, which meant I had to scramble to find shoes and socks that actually covered my entire foot, something I have not needed in almost 6 months.
While at work last Wednesday, I plugged in the kettle to make my co-worker a cup of tea, and set the Tassimo machine to make myself a cup of coffee. About half way through both processes, the coffee machine sighed heavily and stopped dead, and the kettle swooned and fainted altogether. The ventilation fan stopped, leaving the room in an ominous silence, and the lights went out. I'm no electrical engineer, but I was pretty sure we'd popped a circuit somewhere. I went down into the bowels of the basement to suss out the fuse box (and I do mean bowels...the building the salon is in is about a hundred years old, and the back room in the basement has a dirt floor and has a single naked light bulb and looks like Tiny Tim and his family might have lived there. It's pretty grim.)
Nothing looked out of place.
Normally, I'd have gone home and told the Mister (who wasn't working that day) and had him sort it out the next morning. But he had spent the day in the hospital writhing in pain (they actually gave him morphine, if you can believe it.) and had lost two night's sleep. I made an executive decision and called the electrician we usually deal with.
Our electrician's name is Steve, and he is possibly the most morose, despondent, world-weary man I've ever met. He's about 60 or so, and gives the impression of having been disappointed and disillusioned more times than you could ever count. Until, of course, you call with an electrical problem, wherein he sighs heavily and says he will be right there, and you know you have just added one more stone to the Everest of despair that he has to climb every day. He's like Eeyore.
Steve showed up, disheartened and let down by our electrical system, and indeed, the world at large. He poked around and sighed and stifled a sob once or twice, and quickly got the fan, the lights and the outlet working again. Except, there was a set of lights over the shampoo basins that he could not get to work. He tried this and that, he flicked switches on and off, he had a little cry, and finally gave me a look of deeply wounded disappointment and said he couldn't figure it out. I was afraid he would leave and slit his wrists in his truck.
Just then, the Mister came in. He had been at the hospital again that morning, getting an ultrasound (so that they could tell him he definitely had kidney stones.) and he was able to tell Steve/Eeyore that those lights didn't work because the bulbs had burned out and had not been replaced; people complained that they shone in their eyes when they were getting shampooed.
Poor Steve. He looked at me as though I had drowned his boyhood puppy while eating all his birthday cake. I've never felt so totally responsible for one person's happiness as I did at that moment.
He eventually packed up his stuff and left. I couldn't bear to tell him about the switch we have that nobody knows what it does. Or the light fixture that goes on and off according to it's own whims. (Sometimes we come in in the mornings and it's on for the first time in months. Or it just goes off for no reason at all.) Or the outlet that hates the straight iron. I'm afraid he'd lie down and weep.