Adventures in the shower (aka, my own private death-trap)…

One of the best things about living in a favela is all the adventures you get to have w/out ever even leaving your house! Just the other day, I was thinking, “Gosh, I don’t even have to be working w/ the wiring in my house to get shocked. All I have to do is stand up straight in the shower or touch the wrong spot and I’ll get zapped. Isn’t this great!” (The reason there is electricity in my shower is that the only way to have hot water is to have an electric shower-head, w/ two wires running out of the wall into the shower head – I installed it myself…)

So two days ago I got home to find half the neighborhood gathered in my bathroom – Nathan (my servant team guy) had been in the shower when it started shorting out, causing an impressive cascade of sparks from the light post next to our house (which also happens to be where our circuit breaker is located.) Supposedly it was quite impressive… Later that night, as I was messing with it trying to fix it, it practically exploded in my face, showering me w/ sparks and heat – I still have most of my hair, though. =)

So I declared the shower off-limits until it was fixed. But when it’s 100 degrees out, you can only go so long w/out showering… I decided that it would be OK to use it as long as we didn’t turn on the hot water. Theoretically, that should mean there is no power running through the wires. Well, Nathan took a shower and everything was fine. But as I was standing in the kitchen making tortillas so we could have quesadillas w/ my guacamole, it happened.

The lights in the entire house start flickering like there’s going to be a blackout, and then there is a small explosion from the bathroom (right next to the kitchen). And the explosion of sparks goes on and on… getting bigger. I’ have started freaking out, wondering what exactly I will do to keep my house from burning down… Do I run in there and grab the wires w/ my bare hands and rip it off? (I really didn’t want to do it, but was working up the courage to do so when the fireworks stopped (after about ten seconds of flickering, sparks, crackling, etc. It was like having a small lightning storm in my shower…)

At this point, I’m hearing an odd sound from outside. I quickly realize that it sounds something like this: “Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhh…” – really quite similar to what you hear at the end of the grand finale at a 4th of July fireworks display. Except those who were oooohing were my neighbors, and what they were oooohing at was the connection of my house to the light post as sparks cascaded in a waterfall pattern down to the street…

Our neighbor Alison came over to help me take it apart that night (due to my entirely unreasonable fear of getting shocked… I told him I was going to shut the circuit breaker off before I messed with the wires, and he looked at my like I was a sissy… “Are you afraid of getting shocked?” he asked scornfully? “Yup.”) And so he helped me fix it so there are no more sparks. On the other hand, we also now no longer have hot water. Again, it’s not that big a problem at the moment. Maybe when the temperature falls into the 80’s we’ll need hot water again… but maybe not.

Anyway, I’m glad the problem is contained for now. and I’m REALLY glad I wasn’t in my shower when it went psycho… ouch.

take care of ya’llselves – and beware of showers… i’m serious.





Filed under electricity, favela, stupidity

2 responses to “Adventures in the shower (aka, my own private death-trap)…

  1. fil

    sounds like the ben we know and LOVE. haha! be careful, ben.

    anne & phil

  2. Jennica

    Umm Ben… The new servant team gets to take hot showers???? Umm… that is SO UNFAIR.

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