Thursday, 20 March 2008

The modern girl's guide to dealing with emergencies

During the course of her day-to-day life, the modern woman will often be confronted with situations which require urgent action.

Under such circumstances, it is important not to panic.

What, for example, would our grandmothers have done when faced with a gas boiler which refuses to ignite? They would have played the game and pulled it off with pluck and determination. Here is a short guide for the Modern Young Woman on how to keep her chin up and not funk it in minor emergencies.
(also available as a pull-out section in your weekly Bunty or Judy)

Hypothetical Situation no. 1: the Gas Leak

Our modern young woman, alone in the flat for the festive period, goes to the bathroom, attempts to have a shower and finds that the gas boiler does not ignite. What should she do? Follow the simple steps below to remain calm, poised and in control in any situation.

- Turn tap off. Cross fingers. Turn tap on again.
- Thump side of boiler.
- Fiddle with slightly loose knob at bottom of boiler. Pilot light goes out. Knob comes off in hand. Panic a little.
- Fetch oven-lighter from kitchen. Turn knob again. Try to re-ignite pilot light using oven-lighting equipment.
- Pilot light comes back. Feel slight relief.
- Turn on tap. No flames.

- Call flatmate.
- Have scrambled early-morning conversation in Polglais and learn that flatmate (who is younger and blonder) got neighbour to help last time.
- Try tap again. No joy.

- Call landlord. No answer. Leave voice message and texts.

- Dress and try to rouse neighbours. Realise that everyone else starts work earlier than you, you lazy piece of foreign scum.

- Phone rings. Landlord.
- Have second garbled early-morning conversation in Polglais. Landlord tells you to poke a fire-resistant rigid object into the boiler until it works.
- Fetch fork from kitchen.
- Poke fork around in boiler. Nothing.
- Remove fork.
- Accidentally burn fingers on hot end of fork and swear loudly.

- Start to worry about leaking gas.
- Open windows.
- Put jumper on.

- Call boss.
- Leave voicemail message explaining that you may be late for work.

- Begin to feel light-headed.

- Switch on computer to try and find plumber.
- Type 'hydraulik, Kraków, ogrzewanie' into Google. Fail to understand response.
- Notice that ex-boyfriend is on line.
- Call ex-boyfriend.
- Be careful to insist that, while on reflection you would rather talk to said gentleman than be gassed to death in a horrible manner, it's really a very tough one to call.
- Ex-boyfriend tells you to poke fork around in boiler until it works again.
- Burn fingers. Swear.

- Phone rings. Boss.
- Insist that everything is Absolutely Under Control and you will be in the office shortly.

- Hear footsteps and voices on landing
- Run outside to see two strapping young men lifting a washing machine into the flat next door.
- This is perfect. If you can contrive to cry, do so. Get them into your flat At All Costs.
- Test boiler. No luck. Strapping Young Man no 1. tells you to call mechanic.

- Call landlord and tell him you are calling mechanic.
- Landlord tells you he is out of town but please wait for his wife to arrive before doing anything rash.

- Go back to internet and try to decipher plumber's website.
- Call Dad.
- Under no circumstances is it appropriate to cry unless you are in the presence of Men Who May Be Useful (or whom you like the look of).
- Resist urge to pour medicinal shot of Bechorovka.

- Go back to bathroom and try tap again.
- Replace knob and turn. Pilot light goes out again.
- Re-ignite pilot light, poke with fork, and notice tiny blue flame-buds.
- Turn knob in other direction.


- Call landlord and tell him that boiler works.
- Get in shower.
- Doorbell rings.

- Try very hard to be polite to landlord's wife in Polish while wearing a towel.

- Repeat to self: 'It's going to be ok. Everything's going to be ok'.


PRQ said...

This guide should be printed out and affixed to the door of every Polish lodging room.

artur said...

oh that pinolona!methinks i have happened on several unequivocally feminist comments that she deigned to bestow on us, lowly readers ,and now,lo and behold,the much vaunted image of an independent self reliant woman cast aside. when in need a man is a friend indeed- she addresses menfolk for help and assistance.

Darth Sida said...

I like the observation that 'Absolutely Under Control' initialize into AUC - while the Polish sound a person makes when their finger's burnt is AUĆ ("ouch", close enough).

pinolona said...

prq: printing as we speak.

Artur: well hello stranger.
In theory I have nothing against exploiting the male of the species for menial tasks. It works on several levels: for example, while I am perfectly capable of pouring myself a very decent pint, I'd rather pay the barman to do it for me.
Incidentally, none of the total six menfolk on whom I called that morning (seven if you count Car Guy's dad, who was consulted indirectly) were any bloody use whatsoever and I ended up fixing the boiler myself.

Darth: I like it too. But I thought that Polish people said AUA not AUC?

Shaunj said...

God damn it , I was away and could have helped-I'm a menace with a spanner you know. Belated happy Easter Pino. Will you make it to Nowa H /Kraków south central for a spring tour?

Darth Sida said...

Re "auć" vs "aua"

The starting word is au. I take "auć", it sounds more, eeh, English-wise, though affricate. Plus, it's short, and "aua" (or "ała") is for the really tough folk who can utter two syllables when in sudden pain.

Hope this helps. (Second thought: let's hope you won't ever need this knowledge.)

bildungsroman said...

Hi pinolona,

Would you be interested in having your blog published in the Krakow Post in May? Can you please email me ASAP -