Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Blame Russia

It simply wouldn't do for a Georgian winter to announce itself gracefully. No whisper of sudden frost or early flakes to herald the coming season. Oh no no no. Here? It's a light bulb exploding in your face. Good morning, folks!

Winter is the season of electrical mishaps, which is a big improvement from the days of yore when every season was the season of electrical mishaps. So even though I live in a neighborhood known for reliable electricity, you still get the winter power surges. Thus, I awoke this morning to the smell, for the second time this year, of burning something. It was just the electrical space heater. My space heater is a perfectly nice appliance that was unfairly subjected to some Georgian engineering. Somebody soldered an extension cord onto the original cord with electrical tape, resulting in a certain shabby chic, fire hazard-y appeal.

Well fine, so the electrical tape was burning through and sparking and smoking. I turn the thing off, stre-e-e-tch and yawn, flip on my bedside lamp and POW with the lightbulb in the face. Not the most delightful of mornings.

At my office, where there was neither water nor electricity today, (and thus much more eating and drinking), I told my colleague Lasha about the lightbulb. "It was," I told him proudly, "my very first lightbulb-in-the-face."

"Your first?" Lasha looked at me as if I'd just told him that I eat babies and started counting off, on his fingers, the televisions, refrigerators, and mobile phone chargers that have all blown up in his face. O, the appliances I have known.

Well, down one warmth-giving appliance, so now we have to rely on the unventilated gas space heater that the internet assures me will kill me in no time. Mmmmm carbon monoxide. I used to wish that I had brought my electric blanket with me, but now thinking better of it, what with the sparking and the explosions and the whole Robert Fulghum bit.

I share this for the slapstick appeal, but I don't want to make it seem like I'm really roughing it here. I've got high speed internet in my apartment and a frigging Benetton on the corner. Going out to the regions, where I spent last week, puts some perspective on things. Sure we didn't have water in the office today, but out in this village past where the roads end, they're still getting water the old-fashioned way, every day.


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