“Excuse me, ma’am,” said the nice looking man wearing a yellow construction jacket at my door step. “We’re just going house to house to let everyone know that the city will be doing work on your block for the next few months so you might see blockades and construction. We’re having to work on the underground fire-lines in this neighborhood.”
“I…wait…what?” I asked, (extremely articulately).
“Apparently the fire lines in your neighborhood are extremely low in pressure and so we’re going to have to dig up the pipes to fix that. I know it’s a hassle, but it’s a safety precaution,” he explained.
I stared at him. “I appreciate the concern, but why in the world would we want bigger pipes filled with fire under our houses? That seems the opposite of safe.“
He paused for a second. “Oh. No. Fire lines are just the water lines that lead to your fire hydrants. I just call them fire lines because they’re used to put out fires.”
“Oh. Well, in that case, shouldn’t they be called anti-fire lines?”
He considered it for a moment and then pointed out that we call fire hydrants “fire hydrants” even though they don’t shoot out fire and that by my logic we’d have to call them “anti-fire hydrants”.
I conceded the argument to him, but then he handed me the work notice notification and I pointed out that the subject line was “Neighborhood Fire Flow Improvement Project” and that that implied that they were improving the flow of fire through my neighborhood. Then he looked at the paper again and said, “Ma’am, I just work here.” And I apologized because I know he’s only following orders, and he said not to apologize because it was the most interesting conversation he’d had all morning and that he’d bring it up with the fire department, as he was sure they’d enjoy my points just as much as he did.
I suspect he meant that he’d have a “You guys won’t believe what this crazy-ass lady I met this morning said” kind of conversation, but who knows? Maybe it’ll start a whole “anti-fire hydrant” movement. Although that sound more like a movement to destroy all fire-hydrants, rather than a conscious choice to use descriptives more appropriately. Which is maybe why they named them fire-hydrants to begin with. Dammit. I think I just proved myself wrong and I don’t even know how.