Grateful for Minor Annoyances

No, I don’t think I’ll complain about my air conditioner leaking water onto the floor of the utility room. Other people are dealing with so much worse this week.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

I went down to the basement this afternoon and discovered that the air conditioner was leaking onto the floor. Nothing was damaged. Part of the concrete floor and a doormat-sized rug were wet; that’s all.

I photographed it and sent a picture to my husband, who said he knew about the leak and has been watching it for a couple of days. But the problem had clearly grown a lot worse today. He thought it was normal condensation caused by the extreme heat and humidity we’ve been having. He knows more about this kind of thing than I do, but he hadn’t seen this in person today. This could not possibly be the way an air conditioning system is supposed to work. He wanted to wait until this evening so he could take a look when he got home. I was afraid that if we waited, we’d be waiting for a long time. We’re expecting big storms this week because of Hurricane Ida. Before long, all the local plumbers may be busy pumping out flooded basements.

Bob finally agreed that I should contact the company that installed the thing in the first place. I called immediately, and was pleased when a technician arrived within the hour. He decided the outtake pipe for draining the excess condensation into the utility sink was too horizontal, so water was backing up in it instead of draining. A couple hours later, he had installed a pump for moving the water along, and a trap. And no more water is spilling onto the floor.

The plumber couldn’t tell me what this is going to cost us; he said his company would send a bill. I can imagine some people I know telling me I’m crazy not to get the price upfront. Normally, I would. But since it had to be done anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter. The company has a sterling reputation in town, we’ve used them before, and we trust them not to rip us off.

I can’t help thinking of how privileged I am, if this is my big problem for the day. The country is full of people who have covid-19 or who are watching family members die of it; people who narrowly escaped Afghanistan and are now homeless in a foreign country, wondering if their loved ones back home will still be alive in a week; and people who are sitting in the dark in the middle of a devastating hurricane in New Orleans, watching, terrified, as the water rises around them. So many people have no air conditioning, or couldn’t afford to fix theirs if it broke, even in what’s probably the hottest summer on record. Some have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and are facing eviction from their homes now that the moratorium is ending. Others have learned that their life-saving heart surgery or kidney transplant has been postponed because of a lack of open hospital beds.

In other words, so many people are hurting that I’m not about to complain about a leaking air conditioner or the bill for fixing it. This was a minor annoyance, easily solved. And for that, I am grateful.

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