There were a couple of utility trucks in the street in front of the neighbor’s house when we came home about a week ago. Both of them had the logo of Madison Gas and Electric, the local power utility, on the door. They were the kind of trucks that are so big, we had to slow down to walking speed so I could carefully thread the car between them. One guy in a hardhat was walking up the street toward the trucks, but all the rest of the hardhats were in the trucks.
We didn’t think anything of it until later when we were unwinding with a couple of beers in the living room. We’ve got a pretty big picture window, so we saw when a couple more MG&E trucks pulled up and closed ranks in the street around the end of the neighbor’s driveway. About a half-dozen hardhats got out of the trucks, huddled for a few minutes, then started getting equipment out of their trucks and setting to work. Some of them worked in the neighbor’s yard, while others fanned out across the neighborhood.
One of them walked across our front yard. We waited for the sound of the doorbell and when we didn’t hear it, I got up off the sofa and opened the door. Nobody there. Stepped out onto the front stoop and right away saw a guy in a hardhat bent over next to my gas meter, working on it with a monkey wrench as long as his arm.
“Hiya,” says I.
He looked up at me briefly before answering “Hi,” and bending to his work again.
It didn’t seem as though he was about to offer any kind of an explanation, so I followed up with, “What’s going on?”
He set the monkey wrench down, sank to one knee beside the meter and began sniffing around it with a hand-held gas detector. “Oh, the neighbors reported a gas leak. It’s coming from the main so we’re gonna have to dig it up and fix it. I’m just checking the rest of the gas meters on this street. You had a little bit of a leak but that normally happens when the gaskets shrink in cold weather. It’s fine now.”
Oh. Just a gas leak? A minor one? And you fixed it with your trusty monkey wrench? Well okay, then. I thanked him for the information and he left, walking down to the next house.
“What’s up?” My Darling B asked when I went back into the house.
“Nothing much,” I told her. “Just a gas leak. Go back to your Facebook feed. Pay it no mind.”