Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Electricity Saga

Last night I lay in bed, occasionally throwing segments of cut wire and small plastic pieces of which no one besides an electrician knows the purpose, wondering to myself if it would be worthwhile to invest in a nice tent.
This begins our electricity saga. The worst possible time for a story like this to begin would be a few minutes after Shabbat started. So a few minutes after Shabbat started, the electricity shorted and then we had none for the next 25 hours. This was the Shabbat in which I was staying at my apartment since my parents were out of the country. I was going to stay with my roommate and her friend for a nice Shabbat dinner, the kind with hot food where you can see what you're eating. Our dinner was more of the kind where you have to guess what cold food you're scooping onto your plate. Or in your lap, and on the floor.
For the next week, the situation slowly got worse. We couldn't wash our clothes with the lights on or turn on the electric kettle if the microwave was on. Eventually we couldn't wash our clothes at all or turn on the microwave for longer than a minute. Then we couldn't use any electrical appliance or have more than two lights on at a time. The power would arbitrarily short out and we'd have to go out to the hallway to flick the switches on the electric box back up. The power would always short right after Shabbat started so we couldn't turn it back on. The only warm food we had was what was in the fridge and that wasn't the kind of food that was supposed to be warm.
We finally called the landlord after the first week, she called the electric company, and they said it wasn't their problem. She then called the insurance company who said it wasn't covered by insurance. Which is probably a good thing considering the plumber they'd sent. The plumber whom they had incidentally sued for telling people they had to pay extra and then pocketing it. The plumber who had ambushed me in the parking lot and told me I had to sign a form, which I signed, and turned out to be a form obligating us to pay for more than the insurance was covering. Sorry, but there goes my faith in the insurance company.
A month later I lie awake picking my way through debris that the electricians have left in my bed. It turns out we have to replace the entire electric system which should take about a week, barring any complications such as the roof caving in or the toilet exploding. I would not be surprised by either of these things. In fact, it's probably only a matter of time.
At least this time the electrician (and his son) seem to know what they're doing. But then again, they could drill holes in our floor like Swiss cheese and fill them with Kool-Aid just for the fun of it and I wouldn't know the difference. Well, I would know that there were holes in the floor after I'd drowned in Kool-Aid, but I wouldn't know that they were just some electrician's idea of a prank (although I'd have my suspicions). But they seem alright and somewhat humorless barring the fact that they left my room without power or even light bulbs for the weekend, but I'm going to hope that was just a typical Israeli oversight- not being able to plan ahead past the next hour.

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