When Spencer from Ferndale’s Paradigm Plumbing & Mechanical was leaving our house after spending a couple hours installing a new toilet and two new faucets, he mentioned my choice of music. Normally, when I’m working at home I listen to the SiriusXM Elevations or Escape channels be- cause there are no words, just music. I can’t write well if there are singers, but having melodies as a backdrop steadies me.
Spencer looked to be in his late 20s and I was amazed that he approved of these channels, as they typically play renditions from bygone eras. Standing in my foyer with his hand on the door- knob, he said, “I really like the stations you listen to, those old songs done kind of differently.”
And a connection was born. Music does that. So we discussed music, and then he looked at my piano and sheet music and told me he plays guitar and a horn instrument and sings. Anyone who tells me they sing is jokingly met with a “sing me a song!”
I certainly didn’t expect him to sing, but he asked me which song I’d like to hear. I had just been singing “The Sound of Music” from the play and movie, so I asked him to channel 1965 and Julie Andrews. He belted the tune out as though he’d been singing it for, as the song says, a thousand years! I was amazed. But that’s not all. Enter from stage left his plumbing partner, Scott. Hearing Spencer sing, he just had to join in and two booming voices filled the air, in harmony!
I was stunned, and I loved it!
There were some issues with the bathtub faucet that weren’t immediately addressed, and that one visit became three, but that’s OK. You know why? The two were kind, detailed, hard-work- ing, and they sing! There’s nothing like a song to lift spirits, especially when things are going wrong in the plumbing department.
Compare this scenario with someone from a different plumbing company who came to install our new Whirlpool dishwasher. “Ooof,” he said, looking at the opening as he tried to jimmy, wedge, and shove our new dishwasher into its home. “This doesn’t fit,” he said, getting really red in the face. In the end, he broke parts of the dishwasher and the unit’s door wouldn’t close properly. A carpenter friend had to remedy the hack job on the kitchen cabinets and help us fit the unit properly.
Months later, I was talking to Justin, who was painting an upstairs hallway. Before long, I heard him humming. He then told me about a great song whose theme is “answering prayers.”
A few days later, Kyle knocked on our door. An expert grout man, he had come to repair the deteriorating caulk and grout that occurs when a house is settling. On this morning, Alexa was playing 1960s classics. As his caulk gun started oozing silicone and whatnot, Kyle began humming. That got us talking about the Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger.
Did you know that singers, hummers, and music-lovers are said to have specific traits? Ca- reerexplorer.com reveals that they score high on openness, which means they’re usually curious, creative, and imaginative. They also tend to score high on social responsibility, indicating that they’re agreeable, conscientious, desire fair outcomes, and have a general concern for others.
That was certainly true of Spencer, Scott, Kyle, and Justin. I’m glad they tuned in, and I hope the music was a nice backdrop for their projects. It got me wondering: Should I have had music playing during the dishwasher debacle?
Detroit Design – Fall 2023 – Editor’s Letter, Megan Swoyer: firstname.lastname@example.org