I knew I was off to a miserable week when my gas water heater broke down.
But I wasn’t expecting a disaster or anything close.
It was all clear to me by the time the technician had started fixing the problem.
First, he put up scaffolding outside my flat and tore down parts of my wall, purportedly to allow the new heater to be installed.
Then came the shocker — the repairman said my gas supply was leaking and the whole pipe system within the walls must be replaced.
What was I to do, except give him the go-ahead to do what was necessary?
So he proceeded to put up more scaffolding which now covered dozens of square feet of the exterior wall.
But since this was a gas leak, my supply had to be shut down — as well as that of the entire building.
Meanwhile, I had to find a way to inform my neighbors, which was a easy, and explain to them what was going on, which was not.
Having done that, it was time to ponder my own situation.
I would be lucky if the whole job could be done in a week and I should be grateful if it was finished in two.
But things could have been worse, I thought to myself. Here I was, whole and healthy, when I could have been blown to pieces.
So the small inconveniences — no shower, no cooking — began to look, well, small and I actually found myself being thankful.
Even a coming cold snap was not as daunting. Who needs a hot shower if there is no shower in the first place?
Thanks to clubhouses, convenience stores and public amenities, I was able to shower and get some food.
I even had a little fun indulging myself by going to my favorite eating places in Tsim Sha Tsui when I became tired of clubhouse food.
I rediscovered pot rice with Matsuba crab meat and Hiroshima oysters.
Admittedly, the little adventure cost a bit of money but it took my mind off my domestic problems.
Still, these were waiting for me when I got home one day to the next … and the next.
But hey, I survived.
I don’t want to know how long it took to get my life back in order. I’m just glad I can shower and cook.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Mar. 9.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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