Bottle of Rum: $10, Bottle of Coke: $4, Four Ice-cream bars: $2, ECP Plumbers Driving around in a Tuk-tuk for Hours Doing Rum and Coke Dentist Chairs: Priceless
There’s a plumber legend that states a plumber can only respond to any question with one of three answers: “yes”, “hell yes”, and “let’s talk about it.” This legend has been attributed to many sources, yet no one knows exactly from where this little plumber philosophy arose. We do know one story that epitomizes this philosophy and we shall retell that story here. It’s about a boy named Ravi, two plumbers, a tuk-tuk and a good idea.
On what seemed like a typical plumber’s day, a few typical Eager Catholic Plumber decisions turned into… well, a typical Eager Catholic Plumber Day. Typical plumbers plumb from 9-5. When Eager Catholic Plumbers get the call from BaseCamp about their ride home being ready at 5:00, ECP’ers inform BaseCamp that no ride is necessary. See, typical ECP’ers don’t stop plumbing at 5:00; they plumb until they run out of light, which is exactly what Mixto and I did on this day.
That evening, gazing out of the window of our tuk-tuk on the way back to BaseCamp after a healthy day of plumbing, I see another tuk-tuk headed straight at us! Our driver swerves to the left when he notices this, but at the last second the other driver swerved to the right to narrowly avoid collision. Then I notice the driver of the other tuk-tuk laughing, looking at our driver. I look at our driver, and when he sees the other guy, he looks relieved and laughs, then swerves toward the other driver in a returned jest.
Recognizing these two drivers’ apparent disregard for formality, and safety while trasporting passengers, I am immediately struck with a funny idea. My lack of inhibition during this split second of genius prevents me from thinking twice before mentioning an off-the-wall idea around Mixto. See, Mixto, if nothing else, is pure plumber. He could be completely paying attention elsewhere, not hear a single word mentioned, yet recognize that a question was asked, and he’ll respond “yes.” No matter the question, irrelevant of how ridiculous, off-hand, or inconvenient such a response might entail, the answer will be “yes,” or “hell yes.”
Well, I didn’t think twice when I said, “Mixto, you know what we should do? We should rent this tuk-tuk out all night and just drive around playing chicken! This driver is nuts, and I like that!” As soon as I said this, I knew what were doing that night. I knew what was going to happen, and though at first I feared the consequences of what had just come out of my mouth, I realized when he responded “hell yes!” that we were plumbers for a reason, and that this night was going to go down in history. We immediately negotiated a good price with the driver, and were on our way. Next step – pick up Ravi.
Ravi was apparently leaving Pisco soon and had arranged a going away dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant in town, Ken Chai. Apparently Mixto and I were supposed to meet Ravi at BaseCamp 30 mins earlier in order to join him and several others for dinner at Ken Chai. However, beacuse we had stayed late to plumb, we were late. I knew none of this, as all plans had been made through Mixto. Now, I’m wondering why Mixto had gone through all the trouble of negotiating a price with the tuk-tuk driver to be his passengers for an hour when he knew all along that we were supposed to be eating dinner with Ravi. “Not to worry” he said, “Ravi won’t leave without us, and we’ll just take this tuk-tuk to the restaurant.”
When we arrive at BaseCamp, sure enough, the place is empty. We walk into the 14 bed dormroom where Ravi sleeps and find him sitting by himself on his bed.
“Where were you guys?!”
“Plumbing. Where did you think we were? We’ve got a great idea, and you’re coming with us.”
“Did you foget that we’re going to the Ken Chai? The others already left.”
Ravi was, by far, the most well-liked volunteer in Peru. If his teeth weren’t showing through an ear-to-ear smile, it was because he was sleeping. His laugh was notorious and often heard in the middle of a conversation with no apparent provocation or raison d’être. Thus, naturally, a large number of volunteers had forgone a free dinner in order to celebrate Ravi.
Ravi, however, was a plumber. He had sent every single one of these friends to the restaurant without him, in order to a) make them happy (they had worked up quite a hunger), and b) wait for/ ride with Mixto and I to the restaurant. Ravi had told the others that he would arrive at Ken Chai soon, as he was sure Mixto and I would be home soon. Mixto and I, however, had just rented a tuk-tuk for an hour, who was waiting outside for us, and we had it in mind that Ravi was coming with us.
Here Ravi was: the kindest, most considerate of all people, who sent his guests on to begin dinner without him at his OWN GOING AWAY PARTY! He had patiently waited by himself in an empty dormroom for his two trouble-making plumber friends. Now, after already being 30 minutes late, these plumbers were telling him that he was to ditch his own going away party that had already begun and join them in some “idea” they had? His response to this nonsense:
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but yes, I’m in.”
“Alright!” “Hell yes! That’s what I’m talking about, Ravi! You’re going to love this!”
“Can I borrow your phone?”
“I need to call the others and tell them I’m going to be late.”
Ha haa! That is the plumber spirit right there. We hadn’t even told Ravi what the plan was yet, but he was already ditching his own going away party to join in. He was totally confused, because Mixto and I were running around putting away our plumbing tools and washing our hands because we had a tuk-tuk waiting outside for us. When we told Ravi we had rented a tuk-tuk for an hour, he didn’t believe us. When we went outside and he saw the tuk-tuk waiting, he laughed and didn’t think twice about getting in.
Thirty seconds later we were at a convenience store purchasing a bottle of rum, a bottle of Coke, and four ice-cream bars. We shared all three with the driver as we cruised around Pisco eating ice-cream, getting drunk, and taking turns driving. The driver was unbelieveably cool and that night probably had the most fun at work ever.
At the end of our hour, the driver took us to Ken Chai, but upon asking the waitress where the gringos were, we found out that we had missed them by 10 minutes. So what did we do? We invited the tuk-tuk driver to dinner and the four of us sat down to a drunk, delicious and memorable going away dinner for Ravi. At some point, Mixto had gotten up during the meal, walked to a grocery store, purchased a fresh bottle of rum, and returned without us noticing!
Was it a good night? Yes.
Does Ravi’s response epitomize the plumber philosophy? Hell yes.