Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Great Pipe Mystery

We started the day on a brittle note when I told them to paint the blue pipes white because they hadn't asked me what colour to get. He said what do you mean? The only other colour is yellow, and that's for electricity. I said no, there's light grey, as you know perfectly well. He denied it. I insisted. He agreed to paint them. Still, it rankled, so I drove round a few hardware stores in the area and asked them if they had the light grey ones. The first one said no, they exist, but I don't know where you can get them; the second said no; and the third said they existed '20 years ago' but no longer.

Yet the first contractor I'd spoken to, who was a smart man with an even smarter wife, told me they do exist, are the same in every respect and cost the same. I even have a notion I've seen them, but where? Boonthavorn doesn't have them. Maybe they're a figment of my imagination -- in which case I might offer to put my imagination in the service of the Thai hardware industry and make a lot of people very happy.

Otherwise progress has been swift, held up only for a few minutes after lunch when Ood (the Leader) sat outside on the bench in quiet religious mania and refused to come in as long as the dog was in the kitchen. His squeamishness also extends to gutters, which he begged me not to install along the ledge on the top floor. After some probing it emerged that he has no experience with them and would have to get someone else in.

Their second attempt, much better:

P.S. One possible answer to the riddle: he now says the off-white pipes do exist, but they're rainwater pipes and thinner than the blue ones, which are drinking water pipes. But this is a country of convenient truths and agreeable facts (and none the worse for it), so I'm reserving judgement.

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