I went to Home Depot to find a part for our leaking fridge (see my last post, The Joys of Home Ownership).
I had the broken part with me, so I figured I could match it.
I walked back to the “Plumbing” section and saw a man in an orange apron standing at the end of the aisle.
“Hi!” I said. “I’m looking for a valve like this.” I held up the plastic piece.
He squinted at it. “What’s it for?” he asked.
“It’s part of the waterline for a refrigerator. It connects two pieces of quarter-inch tubing,” I answered, reciting what my husband had told me.
He stared at it some more. “Well,” he said finally. “That would probably be in plumbing, I guess.” He looked around the area vaguely.
I followed his eyes, reading the huge PLUMBING sign above his head, then looking around at the various aisle markers. I looked back at him.
“I’m Lawn and Garden,” he explained. “But it would probably be…” He looked all around again, as if searching for inspiration from above.
Then his little walkie-talkie beeped and he answered it. He started talking to someone on the other end about generators (and the fact that they are completely out of them again) and I stood awkwardly, wondering what I should do. I began an internal dialogue.
Would it be rude for me to walk off in the middle of his sentence? I asked myself. I don’t want to interrupt him.
But he interrupted himself, I answered myself. And he obviously doesn’t have any idea where the part is.
But he did try to answer, I reminded myself. He can’t help it if he doesn’t know. He’s from Lawn and Garden.
He can help standing in the middle of Plumbing with his orange apron looking as if he could help people, when he evidently can NOT, I mentally retorted.
While this little play went on inside my brain I stood there, looking like a particularly stupid deer that hasn’t decided whether or not to flee. I shifted my weight.
Finally I began inching away, glancing over at the man still chatting away on the walkie-talkie, deciding that I would give him a pantomimed version of “I’ll go find it myself” (exaggerated pointing and mouthing) if he looked up. He didn’t.
I walked around a bit and found the part myself.
When I came back out of the aisle, HE WAS STILL THERE. He was no longer on the phone; he was just standing in the middle of Plumbing, wearing his (obviously ironic) “May I help you?” orange apron.
“I found it!” I told him unnecessarily, waving the little plastic packet in my hand.
He looked unimpressed.
As I walked off, I saw someone else approaching him. I hope they had a question about Lawn and Garden….