There's a joke in here somewhere: How many adults does it take to fix a potential gas leak in our front yard? At last check, about a dozen. The three guys from the cable company who were trying to put a new support in for the telephone pole in the corner of our yard nicked a gas line, one that had been clearly marked previously by another crew from PG&E. They called the fire department, who sent both a paramedic unit and a hook and ladder truck out with lights flashing and parked in the middle of the street. Then another PG&E guy came out with a wrench and a worried look on his face.
And then they proceeded to stand around in our front yard and exchange pleasantries and the occasional high-five while the discussion about next steps continued. The firemen leaned on the fence and did their best to stay in the shade as they wore their heavy jackets and helmets. The uniforms only exacerbated the sense of heightened drama for the kids on our street, who must have imagined some sort of desperate situation in or around our house. The biggest loss to those of us inside were the plums the firemen helped themselves to as they waited for the situation to unravel.
Eventually, another crew of PG&E guys will have to come out to our house, dig another hole, and repair the gas line. My son wondered who was going to pay for all of this, and we assured him that we wouldn't have to foot the bill. But as I watched the dozen or so healthy young men sitting around waiting for the next thing to happen, I knew we would all be paying for it in the months to come.