I gave myself the evening off from everything to go to a party. I went to dinner first, and about 8 o'clock I glanced at my phone.
I had missed calls from Betsy, Nicholas, Karl, and Xena, and received one phone message. I checked the message.
"Bob! Where's the water main! I'm standing in 2" of water! Please call! Call right away!"
I called home. Panic embodied reached through the phone, clutching at me as though straw before a drowning man. "We still can't find it! Where's the main!"
"You traced the line back towards the street?"
"Yes! Yes! There's nothing! We're standing in water, the valve shuts down the house but not the heater, there's water spraying out the bottom of the tank I've ruined all the towels and I hate this! Where's the main valve!? Here, talk with Betsy!"
"Hi Bob, this is quite a situation. Where's the main valve?"
"I don't know, I've never had to turn it. Where are you right now? What valve did you turn?"
"There's a valve above the heater, but it doesn't shut off the water to the heater. Okay, I'm out front, looking for the valve. Here's Jori."
"Hi Bob, where's the main valve?"
"Hi Jori, Go look between the sidewalk and the street."
"We're all out here, but we don't see anything."
"Go look near the walk-in gate."
"I don't see anything."
"It could be buried."
"Oh, okay, wait a minute... I found it! Hey guys, here it is! Get me something to open the top."
"Jori... Jori! Hello?"
"We found it."
"Good. You don't need a tool to open it. Just use your fingers."
"Got it. Hey, Betsy, I don't need a pry bar! Wow, it's full of dirt. I'm digging it out, now. Wow, this is good dirt. Hey, I need a wrench or something. Karl's got a wrench, he's turning it off now. Do you want to talk to Xena? Here's Xena."
"Bob, I called East Bay Mud an hour ago to come turn off the main, so now I'm going to call them back and tell them not to come. I'm getting off the phone now."
The line went dead.
Shall I stay at the party? I wondered. I sent a text: Shall I come home and clean, or leave early so I can wake up and start on this first thing in the morning? I ddidn't get an answer so I decided I'd put it out of my head and stay to party. I managed pretty well to stay present in the party atmosphere. It helped that I knew there were a bunch of people already handling the emergency part and that my part, of fixing the problem, would necessarily wait until the stores opened the next day.