Plumbing the depths of different cultures... part 2

This is the continuation of the story which began here.

The plumber finally arrived (as previously mentioned, late), diagnosed the situation, and then scheduled a time to return and actually fix the problem. (Is there an unwritten law preventing tradesmen from solving problems on the spot so as to make clients all the more grateful when the problem is finally resolved?)

For the next week, I continued to turn the hot water valve on before a shower, shut it off afterwards... turn the hot water valve on before a shower, shut it off afterwards... turn the hot water valve on before a shower, shut it off afterwards...

Finally the appointed time came and the plumber arrived with his side-kick. The plumber was a Muslim Arab, and while he was very professional, he was also the unattractive, rough, oily type of man I would normally cross the street to avoid. His employee was also a Muslim Arab, although the complete opposite in terms of personality and person: gentle, soft-spoken, well-mannered, good-looking.

They worked together for about an hour and a half, drilling into my wall and then feeding a smaller rubber hose into the original, bigger leaking one. Problem solved.

Out of curiosity, I asked him how much he would bill my insurance (answer: about 1600-1700 NIS).

Little aside, here: If you're currently considering a career change, might I suggest plumbing? Or - since plumbers clearly have money to burn - they'd probably appreciate someone inventing a pair of pants that will prevent this...

I know I would.

The job completed, I offered them coffee. We drank and chatted. Conversationally, the plumber asked me about the size of my apartment, and made it clear it was much too small for him. He told me about his new home in Ramallah; his second one... where he had recently installed his second wife.

Second wife. 

This was, of course, in addition to his apartment in Jerusalem, where his first wife and their kids reside. (Like I said, you might want to consider plumbing as a career.)

I was probably more taken aback than I should have been (and I probably shouldn't have shown it as much), but he was the first bigamist I'd ever met. At a bit of a loss, I inquired as to whether the plumber's assistant also had a second wife.

"No," he replied, "one is enough!" and he gestured with his hands to underscore his words. (I expressed my VERY emphatic agreement.) He went on to say, "I have one wife, I raised 4 kids and now I have grandchildren. I've done my duty, and that's what life is all about."

The plumber disagreed with us, proclaiming: "I'd have four wives if I could afford it!" and he opened his arms wide as if to embrace these additional women.

I have no doubt he meant it.