Thursday, May 21, 2009


I’m not used to thinking much about water. Sure, I know that clean water is a limited resource and we’re not supposed to waste it, but I’m pretty confident at home that when I turn on the tap water will come out. Every time.

I think the converse is true around here. When I go out for my early-morning bike rides I have to watch out for the water trucks that wash down all the main streets. Clearly there’s plenty of water to splash around. Just not at home. I wrote earlier about an incident in October, but May has been really interesting. The first time the water failed was late one evening when I really should have finished washing the dinner dishes. When I finally did get around to washing them, there was no water. I called our landlady’s representative, who could have understood me in English but who took my call as an educational opportunity so we discussed my problem in Russian. She promised to call the city authorities the next day to find out when I might expect to get my water back. By that time my water was working.

I looked outside the building to see if I’d missed any notices, but there were none.

A couple of days later the water went out again, for a few hours in the daytime. I resolved to fill an empty 5-litre bottle and keep it under the sink, just as soon as I finished drinking the clean water it contained. Well, I finished drinking the water and left the empty bottle in the kitchen until yesterday, when the water failed again. I had more dirty dishes too. Rats!

Fortunately yesterday’s crisis was fairly short and I did get to fill my bottle before going off to class. A couple of my classmates entered the classroom about an hour late, explaining that they had no water at home and were unable to leave any sooner. (If I understood this I would explain it to you.)

Today there was a notice on the front of my building announcing that the gas would be shut off from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. I don’t think I care, as long as I take a warm shower before 8 a.m. Oh, and I want to run a load of laundry. I hope the water is working in the morning.

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