Just as an oyster needs a grain of sand to irritate it into producing a pearl, so my life presents me, The Big Oyster, with so many, many grains of sand that I could set up my own Add-A-Pearl business (anyone remember those?) Perhaps living near the beach has its disadvantages.
To distract me from my Bank Miseries, sort of on the back burner, as it were, I have been suffering from low-level Gas Company misery as well - just another grain of sand. Since I moved into my apartment almost 20 years ago, I have been happily cookin' with gas. And also with electricity. The oven/stove I bought from the previous inhabitant has an electric-powered oven and a gas-powered stovetop. To me this is ideal: I never got the hang of cooking with electricity where you turned the knob up or down and the response was delayed too long for my short-term memory to remember, resulting in not-such-good cooking. With gas, I can turn the knob and see the little blue flame get smaller and smaller until it sputters out completely.
However, Israel is not a country with a gas pipeline, so each gas user has to use tanks, delivered by one or another gas company. Let's say one of these companies is named PazGaz. You sign up with PazGaz and get two tanks of gas hooked up to your stove. The tanks sit outside your building and when one of them runs out, you also run out and switch it off and switch the spare tank on. Then you call PazGaz and order another tank. Unless someone has stolen your tanks, this systems provides uninterrupted cooking.
When I called PazGaz to order a replacement tank several weeks ago, they told me that five years had elapsed since my last inspection. They would not deliver the tank until I had a new inspection. OK, I said. Send me an inspector. Oh, you have to make an appointment. OK, I did. And then the inspector came. And he found some exterior pipes had come loose from the wall and required tightening. Tighten away, I said. Oh, no, he said. I only inspect. The pipe-tightening is a separate specialty. You have to call and make an appointment. Aha, I said. And duly went to the phone to make the appointment for today.
The pipe-tightener came today, and guess what? His ladder is not long enough to reach my pipe! He recommended I hire someone on my own to do it. I was astounded! The gas company does not supply its repairmen with 8-meter ladders, only 4-meter ladders? After the sympathetic repairman called his office to check, apparently not. Together he and I trudged over to the construction site across from my building to see if they were able to supply an 8-meter ladder (for money, of course, mine, of course). No.
So now I have one week to find someone who has exterior gas pipe clips and an 8-meter ladder to install them before PazGaz turns off my gas altogether! Any volunteers out there? Where did I go wrong?
Something tells me we're going to eat pearls for Pesach this year.