Yesterday evening Better Half and I decided to go out for dinner with some friends. When we returned, there was a stench in the hallway of our building – no, it wasn’t fart smell (although I would have preferred that to what it really was), it was proper butane gas smell. It was most definitely coming from our floor, but not our flat, so it had to be one of our closest neighbours.
But… was it? I mean, to be honest, I really wasn’t sure. You know how it is, the nose gets used to scents and after a while I couldn’t figure out whether it was my imagination or not, so we postponed calling the gas leak emergency number. We did, however, decide to sleep with windows open, which meant I had to bundle up with an extra duvet and the blinds couldn’t be drawn (hooray for light of day at five in the morning! Not.)
Before dozing off to sleep, I just said this most romantic/stupid thing to my partner: “I just want to say I love you. You know, in case we don’t wake up in the morning.” Can anyone queue the violins?
The next day, we went out to the hallway and yes, it smelled like gas. I think stupidity struck because I still didn’t call the gas leak number, because I didn’t want to bother the neighbours. I’d like to blame some possible gas inhalation for this idiocy of mine, can’t be sure I can, but there it was.
About an hour or so later, the postman arrived and when I opened the door the first words out of his mouth were “There’s a gas leak here, you should have it checked.” I was so happy to hear confirmation for my so-called possible olfactive illusion that I just blurbed out “Oh, that’s great, thanks!”
I wonder if I’ll ever receive a package again.
Anyway, I called the number. They took my information and said someone would be here within the hour, and surely, thirty minutes later, a man rang my bell to be let in.
(I do have to open up a small parenthesis on this and say: how silly is it that I’m told not to use any electric appliances or lights or anything due to possible explosion hazard, and the Gas guy rings my electric bell for me to open his door?)
He immediately went to work, pushing this little tube with a meter of sorts into each of my neighbour’s post slots to check for leaks. Find a leak he did, and it was coming from my 70-year-old neighbour’s house. We knocked, we banged on the door, but there was no reply. I got so worried. What if he was in there? The gas had surely been leaking for at least ten hours. He also had a dog, why wasn’t she barking? I got this sick feeling in my stomach.
I immediately devised a plan: I called the manager of his usual cafe, asked if he’d been there, he had not; ok, don’t panic. I then called his work and, after many an extension and explanation, I finally reached him; he just uttered an expletive when I told him what was wrong, said he was on his way, and hung up.
After a good hour there he was. He knocked on my door and when I finally saw him standing there, smiling and thanking me for the call, I just teared up and hugged him. I was so happy he was well. My heart nearly sank to the floor when he told me his dog had been in the house all along. She was fine, he said, she just never barks when people knock (not a good guard dog, that one.)
So… I guess my plans for a quiet Saturday got ditched. I am still in shock about the fact that no one else had called the emergency number before me, and also that it took me, personally, so long to react. I am also vowing never to worry about possibly bothering others when it comes to these safety matters – so what if I wake you up at two in the morning? At least you’re safe. Right?