Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why I Hate Gas Dryers

A lifetime ago, I was 22 and about to become a father. We had only gotten married about 9 months prior and this young man was wasting no time making his presence known. My wife and I, newlyweds, lived in a one bedroom apartment on Chicago's North side. Realizing our little family was about to grow by one, we needed an extra bedroom in a big hurry. We rented another apartment in an apartment building in a third floor walk-up. Included in making that apartment baby-friendly was to buy a washer and dryer. Our old apartment had a laundry room equipped with coin operated machines. Using my head, I contacted a washing machine manufacturer that supplied washing machines to laundromats and bought one of their reconditioned machines for $50 for both washer and dryer. The dryer was a gas dryer and it would be placed in the basement of our apartment building that was own by an elderly lady, who was our landlord. After getting her permission to install the dryer, I realized the gas line needed to be moved to accommodate our needs.

Step one was buying the washer and dryer, step 2 was to find someone who could move the gas supply line. One day at a friend of mine's bar, I was discussing my problem of getting the gas line moved and another of the patrons overheard us talking and volunteered that he did that type of work and he could easily handle that small job. Let's call the volunteer Bruce. I didn't really know Bruce, but he frequented the saloon that I occasionally went to to watch a ball game or to just get out for a few beers. I did notice that Bruce always seemed to have a black eye or a split lip and I just assumed he was a brawler when he got too much to drink. We arranged for Bruce to come over the following day, a Sunday to do the installation. I asked how much he would charge me and he just replied that it would be reasonable. Remember, I was young and that answer seemed okay to me.

Bruce showed up right on time at about 2 PM that Sunday and got right to work, telling me that it wouldn't take more than an hour to complete. I asked him if he'd need help and he told me to go upstairs, it would probably go just as fast without me there. I went upstairs and waited for about 30 minutes and then went back downstairs and watched him complete the job, as we chatted and made small talk. He finished and did a nice clean successful job and I asked him how much I owed him. Remember, we were alone in a poorly lit basement. With a twisted looking smile on his face he took a step towards me and said, "How about a little kiss"? In shock and almost frozen in place, I stood still as he took another step towards me and made his move. Petrified, my only reaction was to draw back and punch him in the eye and run up that stairs yelling get out! He did. So that's why he almost always had a black eye!


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