Bob the Builder

"Make us a cuppa, sweet tits" - You can tell Bob's a fictional builder because he's actually a decent person.

There is a certain element of horror in walking into your hallway to be faced with a torrent of water streaming down from a light fixture. Almost immediately, a cold feeling of dread seeps through your body like the oil of a tanker spill. The initial horror is caused by the thought that, somehow, your house has been plucked by God's merciless hand and tossed carelessly into the sea. But as reality sets in, the horror remains, albeit for a different reason: at some point, preferably very soon, you are going to need a builder.

So, as water ceaselessly rained down upon my hallway with the same velocity and colouration you'd expect from an incontinent elephant, it was with a heavy heart that I picked up the phone and dialled my landlord. He is, as luck would have it (or perhaps not), a builder by trade. One of his subordinates arrived within twenty minutes: a man with a face like a battered radiator and teeth that seemed to have been haphazardly jammed into his mouth like a collection of bottle tops. "What have you done then?" was his first question to me in chirpy Saath London tones. And so it began.

I have a lot of issues with builders. They are rude, brash and unprofessional in every possible manner. They piss with the toilet door open, read The Sun, and probably shit in bins when they don't have a portaloo available. I am not being a classist snob, for the record. This has nothing to do with social class. Plenty of other working class people manage to make it through the day without uttering the phrase "look at the tits on that" (or words to that effect). I swear to God one of the builders said this today. It's as if they actively work to reinforce the stereotypes about them, because that way, they'll continue to get away with it.

This is my other main bone of contention with builders. They can get away with being oafish morons because they have skills which are in demand. If the woman at Tesco told you to piss off, she'd be fired. But if a builder says something equally unsavoury to you, you have to suck it up and take it, because otherwise your leaking boiler will never be fixed. A builder could literally take a dump in your sink and you'd still pay him if it meant your house got fixed. Builders are in a position of power which they are not nearly responsible enough to be trusted with.

Back at my house, good old Trigger has diagnosed the problem with the professional decorum of a senior oncologist. "Your immersion heater's fucked, mate," he relays to me with a gappy smile. Doubtless this is not good news, but just what does it mean? His smile widens. "It means you won't be getting any fucking hot water for a while." This is another annoyance about builders: they can barely suppress their delight at anything that inconveniences you further. They live to see people like me squirm. He'd have probably creamed himself if the roof had suddenly collapsed.

The rest of the cavalry show up. One of them suggests that he wants a cup of tea, and I feel like suggesting that he can have his fucking tea after he stops the water that's gushing through the ceiling. Trigger christens me "smart one" after I inform them that I turned the power off, although thankfully my new moniker doesn't catch on (witty though it was). I try my best to form a rapport with the builders, swearing liberally and avoiding words longer than two syllables. Against my better instincts, I try to strike up a conversation with one of them. This proved very difficult because builders have a very succinct collection of topics worthy of discussion: women, football and building. This is not a baseless stereotype. Builders are incapable of talking about anything else, and perhaps are unaware of its existence. I give up on conversation and return to my room to hide.

When I emerge, the builders have stopped the leak are waiting for a new part to be delivered. I find myself stuck talking to one of them about the SU bar. "Lots of fit birds there, are there?" he enquires. I genuinely could not think of a response. In retrospect, it's a completely pointless dead-end question. There are two possible responses: either yes, there are "fit birds" at the bar. Follow up questions would probably relate to the size of their tits, the metrics of their fitness, or how many I'd "pulled". That's not a conversation I want to have, ever. The alternative is no: the bar is devoid of "fit birds". What would he say then? Would he ask me why? How would I know? Why is it important anyway? I don't go to the bar to leer at women like some colossal pervert (that's what the internet's for). Only men like Patrick Swayze "pull" women in bars. The last time I "pulled" a woman I got arrested for assault. I stuttered out something like, "yeah I guess... dunno really". I felt like a complete idiot, because that's how I was being addressed. Like one of them. Thankfully, he eventually deduced that I was probably gay or something and calmly walked off.

My ordeal with the builders was over almost as quickly as it had begun. I had monumentally failed to even pretend to have a conversation with any of them. All I can say in their favour is that they've fixed the boiler (contrary to Trigger's overzealous predictions) and they did it damn quickly. Beyond that, I am left with a renewed contempt for builders and their blundering lack of social skills. You may consider me a snob or a bastard for looking down on the builders. But consider this: they looked down on ME. They treated me like an incompetent academic cretin, too wrapped up in my "books" to be able to fix a "simple" problem. There was even a hint of suggestion that I was somehow to blame for the corrosion of the immersion heater (I'll refrain from putting battery acid in the water tank now, guv). If there's prejudice here, it goes both ways. I don't like builders and builders don't like me. That's a relationship I can handle.

Permalink || Posted 8/3/2007 by Pete


  1. Chris - 9/3/2007 - 12:02am

    You think it's just builders? Stumble into the wrong barbers, and before you know it you're stuck with a half-styled head you can't be seen in public with, so escape's out the question. but the bloke still wants to know how easy the birds are at uni and whether you watched the match last night. Ah, I can't wait to go back to london.

  2. timothy - 9/3/2007 - 12:04am

    we have one coming to fix our drains but to be fair he has to wade around in our shit for a few hours so i will reciprocate any cheeky banter if it comes to it.

  3. Mrs Bigley - 9/3/2007 - 12:20am

    My hubby Ken used to be able to fix my immersion heater, then he started leaking from his neck.

  4. not slave dave - 9/3/2007 - 12:48am

    I find it so hard to comprehend that everything around us has been created by all these complete cretins.

  5. Pete - 9/3/2007 - 3:43pm

    Actually, i take that all back. Im a jism, someone eat me and my face before i GET FUCKED. I GET FUCKED. ASS. builders suck x

  6. dave - 9/3/2007 - 7:20pm

    Hmm, I can't imagine Pete retracting a rant so soon after he wrote it, but it certainly sounds like him.

  7. Non-member - 9/3/2007 - 11:23pm

    All views expressed are opinion. Comments remain property of submitters. This website is not intended for children.
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  8. Sally - 26/5/2011 - 12:50pm

    I highly recommend for any heating systems or plumbing. call 020 7244 8882

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