Since the stay-at-home orders were imposed with only essential workers continuing with the somewhat modified work, many people have gone out of their way to praise these people. The people they choose to praise are of course the doctors and nurses, the police officers and firefighter/paramedics, and the grocery workers. While these people do deserve our gratitude they are not the only essential workers. I learned this through grim personal experience.
A few weeks ago, in the middle of the stay-at-home orders, my water heater started making what could only be called death moans and groans. At one point, the sounds were so loud they drowned out the television. I was not sure if it was going to just die (obviously not quietly), start leaking, or blow up (worst case scenario). I needed a plumber.
I called mine and within an hour he had one of his plumbers, Ernesto, there. It took him only a couple of hours to remove my dying water heater and replace it with a new, bigger one (oh, glorious day, a full hot bath). Nesto even fixed the chain on my toilet that was not flushing properly and replaced the aerator on one sink that was providing free showers.
That is a hero.
Thanking the owner of the company later, he reminded me that plumbers and electricians are not only working, they are going into people’s homes never knowing what they might be facing. Yes, they are wearing masks and practicing social distancing, but they are still at risk.
They are not the only overlooked workers. Public Works employees from communities throughout the area are still working to ensure our water and sewers are still working. The Edison Company employees are still working as are those from Southern California Gas Company.
So, thanks to all of them.