Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chicken Theory: Excerpt 187

Scene: Chicken and BigB are leaning against the kitchen counters drinking the delicious French roast that Chicken got up early and made while BigB caught up on his beauty sleep.


Chicken: BigB, I think there is a problem with the water heater.


BigB: What is it?


Chicken: In the morning when I take my shower the water doesn't get very hot and it runs out quickly.


BigB: Well, the water heater is getting old, it might be time to replace it.


Chicken: Maybe or it could just be the time of year and the time/temperature ratio.


BigB: (cautiously) The....time/temperature ratio?


Chicken: Yes. You know. How the early mornings are approximately 15 degrees colder than later in the day.


BigB: And where did you read that.


Chicken: I don't know. But it's a common fact. Everyone knows that.


BigB: It's not a fact.


Chicken: Pretty sure it is.


BigB: Pretty sure it is not. Pretty sure you just made that up. But explain to me how that has anything to do with the water heater.


Chicken: (waves hands excitedly). Ok, this is my theory: Here's the water heater, right, and it is the middle of a November night, and it is getting colder and colder...brrr... Anyway. The water heater is working away, keeping the water hot, chugga chugga chugga...keeping it at just the right temperature per the carefully chosen green setting of just right, and not the blue setting of "why bother", nor the red setting of "melt the skin off your face", and then I get up in the dark at six-thirty, a whole hour before you, and I turn on the shower. (looks expectantly at BigB).


BigB: Yeessss?


Chicken: Well, the temperature is 15 degrees colder than it will be by the time YOU get up, and when you apply the 15 degree temperature difference to our copper pipes, that equates to a 30 degree temperature difference per the copper pipe/temperature difference ratio...


BigB: (eyes rolling wildly) So now there's a pipe/temperature ratio?


Chicken: Put it this way, BigB. On a hot sunny day in the middle of the summer would you just walk up to a pipe that's been lying in the sun and grab it? No you wouldn't. It would burn your hand. So if you take away the sun, bury the pipe, and drop the temperature, what do you think happens? The pipe gets colder because it's like, it's like...it's like it is cold blooded and depends on the sun for warmth. It's physics. Where did you go to school, anyway?


BigB: Not the "School of Imaginary Theory" where you apparently were valedictorian.


Chicken: (Bats eyes facetiously) Focus BigB. So the water is waiting in the basement, all nice and appropriately warmed, and then I turn on the shower.  Now it has to travel from the basement up to the second floor through the cold pipes and by the time it gets there, it is 30 degrees cooler than it was.  So the poor water heater is chugging and chugging away in the basement trying to produce more hot water, but it just can't keep up so it gets frustrated and stops trying.


BigB: OMG Chicken, the water heater does not get frustrated.


Chicken: I know. Just making sure you are listening. The rest is perfectly logical, though.


BigB: What? No it's not. Nothing you said makes any sense at all. You don't know how the water heater works or how the pipes work or even that the pipes are copper. You made all that shit up.


Chicken: I know nothing? Is that right? You obviously have forgotten how our house almost blew up nine years ago because you thought the funny smell was from the oil tank and I saved all our lives when I insisted the gas company check the pipe in the study. Remember that BigB? Remember how you and the gas company geezer laughed at me? Because we don't have gas heat? Because it was an old pipe? And remember how I asked him to humor me so he did? And oh! Guess what? We had a gas leak because that pipe was still connected to the city system and the valve wasn't turned off tightly enough. I saved your butt BigB. Fact. Does that sound like a person who knows nothing?


BigB: Oh that's right. The gas debacle of 2003. You got lucky, Chicken.


Chicken: No, YOU got lucky, BigB.  You should listen to me more.


BigB: Because you have all the answers?


Chicken: Well now that you mention it, not always. For example, I've often asked myself why you get to sleep an hour later than me and I haven't really come up with a good answer for that.


BigB: That's what all this is really about, isn't it?  You're getting cranky because I sleep later than you?  Silly Chicken. You get up an hour earlier than me because your alarm is set for 6:30 and my alarm is set for 7:30. It's the clock/alarm/shower schedule ratio.


Chicken: Touche, BigB, Touche.


BigB: I'm going to take a shower.


Chicken: Enjoy. I warmed up the pipes for you.


Sleep well, World. Chicken is on duty.


Chicken out