Saturday, October 23, 2004

Life in an appartment building: hot water

This building runs on hot water. In the morning I wake up to the sound of four crazy percussionists playing dangerously close to my ear. First time I heard this sound emanating from the radiator, I thought something was going to blow, and it would be bad. Later I learned that there is no danger, it is just steam hissing through old pipes. Right, the thought of steam under pressure causing that much noise behind old pipes was not reassuring at all, I can tell you that much.

Most of the time there is plenty of hot water. My frugal shower habits learned sharing a tiny hotwater tank with my then-boyfriend-now-husband as students in Bergen hardly taps into the supply. As a matter of fact, the water isn't even warmed up before I am out of the shower. Normally. This weekend though, the water is always warm. The secret: it is constantly running.

The bathroom has been transformed into one of those indoors fountains, and a hot one at that. Running in an even, peaceful stream from the hot water tap, we are wasting this building more than I care to think about in fuel and water bills. In an attempt to stop this waste, we called the supervisor of this building. This is now a day ago.

He was supposed to show up this morning, but by now it is afternoon, and no supervisor. The mailbox on his messaging machine is full, no chance to leave a message about the leak. I have wasted the morning sitting around waiting (and when I am waiting for something else, sensible work done doesn't count, we all know that), and I have considered doing violence to the tap with my own dainty hands.

But you don't do that in apartment buildings in the states. Because if you do and something is less than perfect, or something happens later, you will be held responsible. So your main maintanance task is calling the super. Who has a full message machine. Who does not pick up the phone. Who does not show up when he said he should.

I am done listening to the warm-water-fall, and am heading out of here. There's a city to explore out there, and more stores than there are potential customers in Volda.

No comments: