Out of the Well: A Frogs-Eye-View of China and the World

Random Jottings on China, History, Culture, and Life as seen by an American student in Beijing.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Shower; or How a Daily Ritual Became a Daily Horror

My apartment is fantastic. It is modern, spacious and populated with extremely pleasant people. My rent is more affordable than that of my fellow Laowai, and I get a huge bedroom with a sunroom all to myself.

There is of course a catch. Our shower seems to be possessed by a daemon. For weeks it will work much like any shower. Nothing amiss, hot water, cold water, a full range of warms, cools, and in between. Then, one day, for no reason what so ever, it turns on you. The hot water will come out as a tiny trickle if at all, or worse, the water pressure will be fine, but there will be no heat.

There are two ways of dealing with this problem. 1)Work for ten minutes before the shower to perfect the perfect amount hot water running in the sink. It must be on enough that it will keep the water heater running, but not so much that it will use up all of the pressure. 2) Shower less. I have been working on both of these fronts, but the basic result is that I have gone crazy.

Today, after weeks of a trickle, the pressure came back and for seven delicious minutes I had a perfect shower. When it went cold after that I did not care a bit. The only reason I can think for this blessing is that I am leaving in the morning for a week in the south. I am sure the moment I return it will be back to the good old shower purgatory.

See you in a week.


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