Friday, June 22, 2007

Electricity in Venice

OK....any of us who have traveled to Europe know how easy it is to blow a fuse or trip a switch here. Which is why I have been trying to be very careful and very un-American in my habits of leaving lights on and/or using too many things at once.

So, last Sunday, just before 4 guests arrived (and one that was already here), the light in the bathroom blew out. I tried to change the lightbulb but to no avail. Being as it was Sunday, there was no way it was getting fixed that day. So, we all fiddled around in dark that night. The next day I ran into my realtor and asked if she could call the handyman.

By Wednesday, I still hadnt seen or heard from anyone to fix the problem. I can tell you that it is less than amusing to not have a light when you need one. But we managed and just chalked it up to a cultural experience! Wednesday evening while we were strolling around, I ran into the realtor and she told me the handyman will be there Thursday afternoon.

So, from noon onward, I sat in my apartment waiting for the handyman (his name is Guido). This struck me as funny because we do exactly the same thing in America...just sit and wait--confined and imprisoned in your own home. Well, he didnt show up until 6pm (at which point I had already decided it wasnt going to happen that day). He told me my light bulb was burned out and put in a new one. I had already done this task but, of course, when he put in a new one, it worked. And he gave me some song and dance about not buying my lightbulbs from a particular store, blah blah, blah.

Knowing full well this was not the case, but no ammunition to keep him longer, he left. About 2 hours later, the light went out again (go figure). So, we spent another night in the dark bathroom. I ran into the realtor again in the morning and she said she would call Guido.

This time, Guido shows up at noon (thank goodness), does some electrical testing and then finally believes that I am not a dumb blonde who doesnt know how to change a lightbulb. He fiddles for a while, talks to himself in Italian with questions fully expecting the light to answer, and then looks at his watch! Uh oh, I think...1230pm--that means siesta time and I am cutting into his! But instead, he puts a metal plier like object into the mechanism (gets a nice little shock and then turns the switch off) and bends some of the connectors. Lo and behold, it works! As he is packing everything up, the light starts to flicker and he again asks it (i.e. the light) why?

Changing lightbulbs again (this time with one that was in his bag), the flickering stops. Its at this point I notice that my light bulb is 100 watt and his is 60 (and the irony of it being a GE lightbulb is not lost on me!). I point this out and he tells me that this is the problem because it is too hot, blah blah blah. So, he is happy with the work and tells me if there are any other problems, he will just replace the entire mechanism.

By now, Guido is sweating up a storm (it is insanely humid here during the middle of the day), we chat a bit about his wife and his other job and how great the water is out of the tap in Venice (as I offer him another glass). Then, he puts on his Cuban cigar looking hat, bows to me, and gives me a hearty Ciao goodbye!

I am amused by all of this because as I sit here and think of what happened, it really had absolutely nothing to do with the electrical capacity in Venice. Had I been at home in the US, I bet I would have figured it all out on my own because I would have left behind the preconceived notion that it was all the lights fault!!!

1 comment:

Rodrigo said...

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