Rantglass - because that's how things are.

Not old enough.

Not old enough.

Stone bullets.

Look. I like listening to rock music, but yesterday was a bad, bad, joke.

I was looking forward to having my second and uninterrupted dosage of About A Boy (I watched bits and pieces of it the night before), when there was a sudden loud sound. I blinked. It cannot be raining! It has been really hot lately, and the sky was still brightly lit outside. I opened the window and was greeted with mild showers of water onto my face. What the…?

But the sound was tremendously loud, and it cease not at all. It sounded like hailstones. I ran upstairs to get a better view.

Look, ma, a fountain!Shit. Had I underestimated the power of a particular small cloud that has taken to wreaking havoc and raining onto my house? The land opposite mine was strangely dry, and here I was, being troubled with those loud sounds that raised the hair on my arms and sent my heart beating as though I had ran a thousand miles.

Apparently the underground water pipe next to our house had burst. I would not mind that much if it were only water, but there were rocks and stones being propelled through the air like tireless catapults. And these stones were raining onto the roof. Raining onto my dad’s Volvo. Raining onto our mango tree. Raining onto the garden. Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. It sounded as though the house would soon come crashing down if there was a rock large enough to fly through the air and hit our roof.

Over and over again, Douglas Adams’ wise words kept coming into my head.

Don’t panic.

I still did. After all, I was all alone in the house (parents were away on vacation – again(!!), and my poor cat has taken to hiding behind the refridgerator). I muttered a thousand curses and searched frantically for the telephone number to lodge a complaint, but I could not find it! Should have pasted it on the refridgerator. Damn. Tried the phone directory. No luck. The newspapers. I know the Chinese newspaper has got it printed somewhere, but I cannot read Chinese. Shit. Argh. Must think straight… I found a number, and tried my luck.

Nombor yang anda dial tidak ada…” (the number you dialed is not…)


Then came the doorbell.

“Burst water pipe!” shouted one of my neighbours, standing outside the gate. As if I did not know.
“I am trying to call the water authorities,” I shouted back.
“Some of us have already called them,” she assured me. Some of us? How many phone calls have been made, I wondered.

Thankfully, my brother found another number on the website, which I immediately put into good use. I was patiently attended to by a pleasant young man, who did his work diligently although most of the time I kept repeating “Pardon?” because I could not hear that well over the horrendous din of water and stones raining all over the place.

The minutes were ticking by. Still no signs of slowing down. All pairs of eyes – from drivers in their cars, whistling motorcyclists, curious children – were focused at the sight of a fountain the height of three-storey building. Undeterred, I took to sending an SMS and an email to report the situation. The phone call might not be enough. I remained skeptical at the idea of help arriving soon. I looked again. The poor Volvo, being assailed with water and stones. I could not bear it. Another message was sent to my brother (who, I think, would have become quite irritated by my constant disturbance – after all, he was supposed to be at work):

“How to reverse Dad’s car ah?”

I did not fancy getting hit on the head with stones, so I still had to wait before I could dash out to the car. His instructions were good enough to have the car finally moving backwards on my fifth try, away from the volley of water and stones. I have never driven that big car, and it has been four years since I last drove a car with a manual gear. By then, the authorities were here to analyze the situation, and the power of the water had decreased somewhat.

One and a half hours later, there was no more fountain; only a gurgling mini pond on the road.

Another three hours later, the water pipe was fixed, and the hole covered.

I really have got to hand it to PUAS for their efficiency. They changed my perception – after all, it is usually quite a task to get hold of the right people to respond to emergencies immediately. A quick assessment of damage: a flooded garden, dents on the Volvo, rocks and stones everywhere. Hardly anything, if compared to the urgency of a tsunami.

Looking back now, I felt rather stupid for not trying to look for the water bill, which would have the relevant contact numbers. If anything, I hardly felt like a grown-up at all, but a wailing and panicking teenager afflicted with mental images of holes on the roof and shards of broken glass.

How am I going to handle my responsibilities later? I am supposed to act like an adult now. And yet…

If Marcus had a Day of the Dead Duck, my Day of the Burst Pipe shall also be known as the Day I First Drove The Volvo.

As if it weren’t enough, I have to add that it was also the Day My Computer Failed Me.

I have had enough of bad luck!

Details of this entry.Saturday, January 29, 2005, filed under Blogger Archives.
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