Sunday, July 23, 2006

Wired for Power

They gave me my own piece of wire today. It was a moment that will not soon be forgotten. You see, to get your own piece of lamp wire means that you get control. Control means that you can supply your family with the extravagance of electrical accoutrements such as lights, a functioning refrigerator and what not.

My Tech Tools

Living in a notable, ancient city (no Mark…Chicago is not "ancient"...and there is a difference between "notable" and "notorious") you run into centuries of historical infrastructure or, a lack of the same. Here in our 20th century municipality that has built itself on pre-historical civilization, we live in comparative comfort, with a minor exclusion here and there.
One of these omissions happens to be the electrical supply to our building. Being a mix of old and new construction our basement contains the meter room with connections for all the units. Our particular union with the juice has a modern meter attached to a decades old ceramic circuit box. Some time ago modern circuit breakers were added, but instead of removing the older ceramic fuses from the linkage, they simply made miniature jumper wires using old coins and lamp wire. Now, to keep the electrical flow active it must first run through an old fuse held together by burned Turkish Lira coins and short pieces of lamp wire.
While this functions well most of the time we have had several episodes of the wire melting to the ceramic fuse and losing our electrical supply. The first few times this happened our building handyman fixed the problem. However, there seems to be a rash of melting wires, and the poor guy spends a good part of his day making new jumper wires to keep up with the demand.
I think he got overwhelmed and took a breather, because today I found a coil of old lamp wire he had left for me. I also found a pile of old business cards (you use those to hold the fuse…those little buggers get so hot they glow red), and a plastic bag to use to grip the ceramic fuse receptacle so you can break the seal of freshly melted wire and coins.


It came in divine timing…no sooner had I found the stash of goodies than the fuse began to glow red, the unmistakable “pop” followed (it’s more like a “cracking kaboom”…accompanied by blue spikes and bright yellow sparks) and the lights went out. I grabbed my new electrical implements and went to work. Five minutes later we had the juice flowing.
It made my day…here we are, foreigners, living on the far side of the World and today I found myself the honored recipient of lamp wire, a stack of old cards, and a plastic bag. After just three months of living in Istanbul, I already have my own fix it kit!


Anonymous said...

How scary! Is the electrical safe? Couldn't there be a fire?

I would make sure that I owned a fire extinguisher, just in case.


Anonymous said...

Sounds exciting, Wish I could be there to fix it up right.
Love what your doing.

Anonymous said...

Sounds exciting. Wish I could be there to help wire that box right.
Try a heaver peice of wire if you can find some. That might keep it from melting.

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World