Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday: Arabian Electricity Adventures

We've already had fun with Arabian Shower Adventures. Let's move on to Arabian Electricity Adventures.

Where to begin...well, in our Damascus apartment, there was the fact that there were about three times as many light switches in the apartment as there were actual lights. I never figured out what the other switches were meant to do. Mostly I just left them alone.

Then there were the two huge chandeliers in the living room with fake candles as lightbulbs which flickered on and off depending on how much electricity was flowing through our apartment at the moment.

There were the times we lost power altogether, especially during the summer when everyone was using their AC at the same time. That was always fun. And hot.

When we moved into that apartment, our landlady gave us strict instructions that of the four appliances comprising the oven, microwave, AC, and washing machine, we were never to run any two at the same time. She never clarified what would happen if we did, but it made for some awkward situations where I'd have to pause a load of wash to cook dinner, or we'd sweat for a hot hour or two while we kept the AC off so we could finish said load.

You already know about the outlet by our shower head, and the funky electrical current running through the water at one of our apartments in Jordan.

But what has really remained with me when it comes to weird electricity issues in the Middle East is a paralyzing, consuming fear of front-loading washing machines. We had a ghetto little European model in Damascus and even when it was powered off, it had a fairly strong electric charge running through it on the inside. Whatever, I could deal with that. What I couldn't deal with, however, was the fact that when the washer was finished spinning and I had to retrieve the wet clothes from inside it, the electric charge ran through those, too.

I developed a system of snatching the clothes out of the washer very quickly with two fingers so as to not get shocked too badly. Then I figured out I could use a wooden spoon to wedge them out of the machine without touching them at all. That worked even better.

Even though it's been more than three years since I've been shocked by a washing machine, I still give an involuntary shudder every time I have to unload clothes from one. Sometimes I even give the wet clothes a test poke just to make sure they're not carrying an electric charge. So far, so good. So far.


Laura said...

How awful to be shocked by your clothes. Who would of thought. We are so spoiled here in America. Sadly we don't even realize how lucky we are until we hear stories like yours. So thanks for making me grateful for living in America.

You are right about us being in the D.C. area. But no worries about not getting to see us. We haven't been in the area for awhile, but we will be returning shortly. So when you do come back to the area, please let us know. We would absolutely love to see you guys. Plus you are welcome to stay at our place when you are here. We have plenty of room and hotels around here are expensive.

Liz Johnson said...

Hahahahahahahahaha. Seriously, the things we take for granted around here! Geez.

Kristen said...

That is really weird.

Shannon said...

Brad Smith almost died from that washing machine--he was standing in water (you know, how it drained onto the floor?) when he retrieved his clothes. And we had neglected to mention the safety precautions of turning off the power switch to the kitchen and using rubber gloves to pull out his clothing. . . . We figured our lapses of memory were par for the course--you can't be sure what to expect when you ask to wash your clothes at a friend's house. Seriously. He had a bucket and soap. Not our fault.

Bridget said...

Shannon, I am so glad you didn't tell me that before we lived there (not that I knew you then, but still). I do remember that it leaked water and usually I would put rubber flip-flops on to unload the laundry. I thought it might work like how tires protect you in your car from getting hit by lightning...or something...maybe I'm mixing up old wives' tales here. Regardless, WOW.

Matthew said...

Rubber kitchen gloves?

From time to time we would get an electric current in the shower water of our guest bathroom in Achrafieyh.


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