Wednesday, April 1, 1987
"Could y'all come out and gimme a contractor's opinion 'bout somethin'?"
His name is Bob. He has a drawl. I meet him at a house he's selling in Portola Valley. The termite report says he needs to tear the wall out of a bathroom.
"It's bullshee-yitt," Bob says. "I don't see no water."
The termite inspector saw water stains on a baseboard. When I touch the baseboard, it feels damp. "There's water inside that wall," I say. "The question is how long has it been there and is there any damage. The termite inspector is assuming the worst. It might be there's no damage yet. The only way to find out is to open up the wall."
The wall in question is shared by the bathroom and a hallway. On the hall side, it's only drywall, easy to repair. So that's where I cut a hole.
It's soaking wet in there with slick curly fungus sprouting from the two by fours.
Bob explodes: "The buyer's gonna remodel ANYWAY! He already SAID so! If I repair this wall he's just gonna TEAR IT OUT! He's lookin' for a CREDIT on the sales price! I'M SCREWED! I'm PAYIN' for his god damn REMODEL! THIS STINKS!"
This is the point where I have to present Bob with my bill.
"GOD FUCKIN' DAMN IT!"
Then he pays.
"Ain't yore fault," he says. "Thanks for puttin' up with me."