I’ve always wanted to learn to take cold showers.
When I first came to this house, this old, grandmothery house, Merche (one of my flatmates, the one whose character is quite plant-like) showed me how the boiler works. You flip the gas switch on the gas tank, you turn the knob on the boiler, you light said boiler and wait until the flame is steady, et voilà! You can go and take along, hot shower.
A few days later I went to light the boiler. I flip the switch. I turn the knob. I light the flame with my trustworthy matches, et……nothing. The little tiny flame turns off. So I turn everything off and start again. Flip, knob, new match. The weakest flame flickers, then dies. What? Why? I try again. This is definitely harder than what I had thought! I try one more time then, with the shriveled up bodies of six little matches I stop and think. And think. And then I have a thought. A very, very very bad thought, as it turns out. I think: ok, so the boiler’s little flame isn’t lighting – obviously the gas coming out fast enough. Or there isn’t enough gas coming out! AH! But when you turn the hot water on, the boiler “pulls” more gas out of the gas tank! AHA! So IF I flip the switch, opening the gas, then turn on the hot water, THEN come back and light the match, it will all light FOR SURE!
Yes, it did. My thinking was correct. I didn’t think this plan thoroughly though, because by the time I had turned on the hot water and returned to the boiler there was so much gas coming out that as soon as I lit the match….well, you can imagine. I’m not going to bore you with common words such as “huge explosion”, “heart attack”, “singed hair” (which fortunately I did not have), “panic”, “heat”, “fear”, “blue flames” etc…
Let’s just say that I was amazed at the promptness of my reactions – I had switched off the gas, removed my sweater and touched every part of my body before I could even register what had just happened. At first I thought that nothing had happened and that I had been very lucky, then my arm started stinging and I ran to put it under freezing water. I singed my wrist pretty badly, but in the end (after a few days of burn cream and bandages) it was no worse than an extremely bad sunburn.
A few days later (say, six) and a few cold showers later (excruciatingly cold showers) I still hadn’t managed to approach the boiler (or the boiler room). I was thinking about how happy I was to have the opportunity to learn how to take cold showers when I came home one day. It was raining, it was cold, I was tired and all I really, really wanted was to take a hot bath. I took a deep breath, I flips, I turned et voilà! The flame was on, the water was hot, the bath luxurious. It seems that I just hadn’t been pushing the boiler’s knob enough.
Et voilà! I missed my chance to learn how to take cold showers. Pity!