Yesterday Tomer, the PazGaz technician, not the same one who came last time, arrived, a little late, but he did call first. He examined my detached pipe, determined that it was too high for his ladder. I protested. He explained: according to the law as of January 2009, gas company workers are not allowed to climb ladders higher than four meters, something the first technician neglected to mention. Apparently, most serious work accidents were attributed to falling from great heights. Tomer observed that the problematic pipe could be reached from a neighbor's balcony, and accompanied me to the neighbor's apartment. Great so far. But. Said neighbor's apartment can only be reached by a different building entrance, I have no idea who the tenant is, and there was no answer when we buzzed the neighbor. Tomer advised me to try later in the evening and he would come back even on Friday, when he normally doesn't work. Sweet.
Except, he forgot to tell me that he had shut off my gas.
Since I took a break last night from my gas company and bank jobs and went to the opera (La Boheme...wonderful, Zeffirelli production), I was unable to contact the mysterious neighbor. This morning, after hiding from the problem through breakfast, I pondered my options. 1) Buy an electric cooktop. 2) Hire someone else to climb a tall ladder and clip my pipe to the building. 3) Try to contact my neighbor. 4) Plead with PazGaz.
I decided to try 4) first, called PazGaz again, and found Judy, a most sympathetic clerk who, after using her limited English to supplement my limited Hebrew, called Tomer while I waited. She then reported that yes, he had indeed shut off my gas because it was required until I got my pipe fixed, but the gas company couldn't fix it by ladder, but Tomer promised to come back, fix it from my neighbor's balcony, and turn on my gas even on a Friday, if I could manage to get access to my neighbor's apartment.
At this point I went into analyst mode: why had my gas pipe become detached from the wall, after living happily there for dozens of years? Aha! Because a few years ago my building had some serious exterior repairs done, required by the city of Tel Aviv, under the auspicies of the management company that represents the co-owners. Said management company has proved surprisingly competent (except for locking me out when installing an intercom door recently), and I figured perhaps I could test whether their professionalism would take them far enough to accept responsibility for this problem. I called the management company chief honcho, who is on vacation, but I reached his secretary Gili. As well as I could, I explained to Gili my dilemma (did I just use Hebrew word order?), including a plea for speed so that I could cook for my upcoming Seder next week. She was most sympathetic and PROMISED to have the problem taken care of by tomorrow. We'll see. Good thing the chicken soup is already in the freezer!
Meanwhile, I'll try to find out who my neighbor is. And Judy will surely know.
This is way more drama than I like, although compared to La Boheme, it's a comedy.