the gas men
The other day, the gas men came to our place as a safety house call. They flashed their official gas men cards and I let them in. They were checking our stove. Our stove sits on top of the counter and has 4 burners and 4 knobs, and that's all it has. That's the way stoves are here - South Asia hasn't quite modernized enough for the nice ranges with built-in ovens and timers and broilers and all that. It's just a stove, nothing else. And it's a gas stove, which I've actually come to appreciate a lot more than electric stoves because you light the burner, and immediately it's hot.
All stoves here have a big gas cylinder connect to them through a regulator and some sort of hose. Now, most kitchens are equipped with a place to put this cylinder - under the counter, in a shelf, etc. But not ours. So our big ol' gas cylinder just sits in the middle of the kitchen and we're always having to slide it around to get into cabinets and such. We've gotten used to it, so it's not a big deal. But I'm sure visitors find it pretty amusing.
So back to the gas men. This is the first time we've had them come by for a courtesy safety check, so I was pretty intrigued. They came to check on a gas leak, and I tried explaining to them that I had no money with me at the time, and one of the men seemed extremely insulted by this comment. "It is for your safety!" he practically yelled at me. Glad to know the gas company takes gas leaks seriously.
I have no idea how they do it in the states, but here, they test for gas leaks in a very unorthodox way - by lighting a match. First, they turned on all 4 burners at one time. Then he asked for a matchbook. Actually he asked for a candle, and when I handed him one, he was extremely confused. Finally I figured out his word "candle" really meant matches. So he lit the match and held it at each knob on the stove to check for a leak. Two of the knobs caught on fire (their reactions were pretty funny to this, but it's impossible to describe) meaning two of the knobs had a leak. The men tightened up some stove parts under the stove, jotted down their number for husband to call about replacing the two knobs, and then left.
It all happened very fast, and at the time I didn't think anything weird of it until I told husband in the vicinity of our volunteer team. They all looked at me very strangely when I mentioned he checked for a gas leak by lighting matches. See, this is why I need Americans fresh from the states around me so I can be reminded how odd things seem sometime.
Posted by Emily at 9:18 PM