Life is a process of accepting chaos and learning to clean up.
Few 17-year-old girls know how to weld two copper pipes together or ignite the long flame of a water heater. I dare say that most people can't distinguish between 90 degree ordinary PVC elbows and 90 degree male and female elbows.
These skills and characteristics were learned in the past five years as an assistant for my father ’s personal plumbing business. This summer job often needs to deal with the mess that causes physical and mental discomfort, and requires a tough and elegant attitude. It is often difficult to cope. But I insisted. I'm the plumber's daughter and a plumber's helper.
Every wet morning, I have to barely put on a pair of men's jeans bought from Goodwill charity second-hand store. Most of my peers are unwilling to wear it in public. I hung a tape measure on my belt, hurriedly tied my hair into a braid when I ran out of the house, and climbed into the front passenger seat of the plumber's construction vehicle. This is a small white van with years, with two pipes tied to the roof.
When my peers were part-time babysitters, lifeguards, or taking inventory of groceries, I helped my father to drag heavy toolboxes and heavy saws deep into people's houses. Although sometimes working in the gilded master bathroom of the lakeview mansion, we tend to be in the damp and moldy basement, and I have to find the water meter between the labyrinth-like storage boxes.
Five summers in Milwaukee repairing pipes made me understand that the messy part of the house reflects the messy part of people's lives. Dad and I often make a mess. He cut the wall with a heavy reciprocating saw, and the air was filled with stucco clouds. Sometimes there are no walls at all, and we have to work in the pristine jungle of fiberglass insulation, floor joists and rusted cast iron risers.
I jumped over a bunch of cluttered wrenches and extension cords over and over again; thick dust covered my nose and mouth; plumbing paint on my jeans, and my hands became dark because of a hard day's work of. I looked at the chaos around me, and chaos was rising inside me. There is nothing beautiful and neat; everything in front of you is ugly. I felt powerless, discouraged and unable to think hard.
Pipe work is a microcosm of the chaotic world, and sometimes I hate it. I asked myself, I could have stayed in an air-conditioned room, cleaned the bedroom with a vacuum cleaner, made avocado toast for breakfast, and finished my summer vacation work early, why did I have to run out and endure these dust and sweat. I can even find another job, a regular job more like my peers.
However, just like I hate messy pipes, I also hate being affected by these little disturbing emotions, hating myself so easily annoyed by chaos. After all, the world is built by people who are willing to get their hands dirty.
When I think about it, I also deal with chaos all the time. As a teenager, the uncertainty and contradictions in my head are more complicated than any extension line, but I have been trying to sort them out. Life is a process of accepting chaos and learning to clean up, and pipeline work is no exception.
My dad and I not only create chaos, we also create order. As long as we observe carefully, I can find order in each newly welded copper tube array, and find order in the neatly arranged toolbox on the back seat of Dad's van. In addition, when customers are grateful for our work, I understand that we have brought order to their lives in small places. The physical and mental discomfort of plumbing work is worth it.