For being as obscenely overpriced as it is, our flat seems to have a lot of things wrong with it. Luckily we have Ted, who is some kind of building manager/handyman/stereotypical friendly old British dude.
Last week I gave Ted a long list of repairs that needed to be made, and today he brought a crew of four people to make them—a plumber, electrician and two curtain repairers. I had five British guys in my flat at one time. They seem to repair together in the building often, as they all knew each other and spoke to each other in what I can only describe as Britishese. When I listened closely I could understand parts of what they were saying (one of them actually said, “Blimey!”), but if I didn’t struggle they might as well have been speaking Spanish.
Just as I was fascinated by their odd use of English, they were fascinated by mine.
“The faucet in the master bathroom shower is really hard to turn,” I told Ted. He told the plumber the problem. “The tap is stuck?” The plumber asked. “Oh, I’m sorry, you call it a ‘faucet,’ right?” the plumber joked.
“Yeah, that’s actually what she said, ‘faucet’!” Ted said with a laugh, as if hearing a real live American use the word “faucet” in everyday conversation was the highlight of his day.
I also told the plumber that the bathtub was clogged.
“Ha ha—‘bathtub,’” the plumber repeated in a fake American faintly-midwestern accent. Apparently bathtub is also a strictly American term.
The plumber was full of jokes.
“What do you have here, a dance studio?” he asked about our completely empty bedroom. Our complete lack of furniture has been the butt of many jokes this week. I admit the wood floor does resemble a dance studio.
As he was about to leave the plumber noticed the box for our 55 inch TV. It arrived in the air freight but since we have no TV stand or cable, we haven’t unpacked it yet.
“Oh man, I might have to come back and rob you,” he said. “Look at this, it’s an LED!”
“Yeah, that’s what I have,” Ted said.
“No, you probably have an LCD, this is an LED! It just came out!” the plumber went on. “And you have Wii too? Can we get it out and have a go?” He joked.
Living in a flat with broken curtains, a broken door handle (see Trapped in the Bathroom), a clogged tub and shower that killed my hand when I tried to turn it on was no fun, but at least getting it fixed was.