Sunday, August 26, 2007

Common Sense Is Not So Common

Something that Mr. Smith and I have noticed is that while a lot of the people in India are highly educated, things that are common sense seem to escape them as a whole. This is something that has provided some entertainment and much frustration during our stay. For instance, we bought a battery back up for our computer this week. Basically you plug all the parts of your computer into the UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) and then plug the UPS into the wall. Now when the power goes out, our computer won't shut down while the generator kicks in. Pretty smart huh? Unfortunately all the outlets into the UPS are too close together, the result is that you can only actually use every other outlet. Grrr. While we are on the subject of outlets and such, there seems to be only a basic guideline as to the size of the prongs on your plugs. Some plugs fit well, some are too snug, some are so loose they fall out. These are not old and new things. These are all electronics that have been recently purchased.

Here is another strange practice; when you go shopping in a department store, as you choose things to purchase, they don't actually let you take them. They give you a slip, you go and pay, then you come back with your receipt to pick up your purchases. I understand that this is to safeguard against shoplifting, but come on! Yesterday we were shopping for our daughter's 12th birthday and had to make several stops on several different floors after we had shopped and paid, to pick up her gifts. It is really annoying.

As usual there is a reason for the subject of this post. Last week our cook pointed out that there was no vent in the kitchen. He was hoping that we could arrange to have one put in. What Uday didn't know is that there is a vent in the kitchen. Kind of. There is a fan and there is a pipe from the fan to the window... a window that does not open. With bars on the inside that also do not open. So the pipe ends about four inches short of the bars and glass. Not a very effective set up if you want to actually get the hot air and smoke out of the kitchen. "Not to worry!" said we. "Surely the office will send someone to fix this silly set up if we point it out." And they did. Work men came, they looked, they discussed, they measured, they cut a hole in the glass and they left. Now the system works like this: Fan, pipe, four inches of open space, metal bars, one inch of open space, 5 x 5 inch square hole in the glass, the great outdoors. Not only is this a completely ridiculous way to solve the problem, but it is also a fabulous entrance for the gazillion mosquitoes that are outside. And right during Dengue season too. Sweet! Now our kitchen is still hot and smokey and Skater Girl looks like she has polka dots. Even on her forehead. I don't know what it is about this girl that the bugs love so much, but we are all safe while she is in the room.

Tomorrow round two of the great kitchen vent adventure will begin. Perhaps this time they will put in a screen to keep all the bugs out. Of course they will have to cut a hole in it, in case some of the hot air and smoke wants to show itself out.


Hunnydu72 said...

First, poor Mary!! It's a bummer way for her to take one for the team.

Second, holy cow! Is it that India is a nation of erudite philosophers so common sense passes them right by? The shopping experience reminds me of Fry's Electronics, where you get the slip for the memory, pay for the memory, and some guy goes to find the memory and hopes it's in stock. Once their inventory was wrong and after spending a half hour waiting for my memory I ended up having to go to Best Buy and repeat the process.

Well, think of how wonderful it will be when you return to the states and you get to talk to a repairman named Phil who has plumber's crack (whether or not he's actually a plumber) who will look at the problem, whip out some duct tape and paper clips, and McGuyver a solution at $95 an hour.

Mr. Smith's Brother said...

Wisdom and education should never be confused. I know, I'm very educated yet can't remember to zip my own pants before going to work (which is why Christy doesn't let me out the door without a thorough once over).

shauna said...

I'm remembering the same thing about outlets from Japan.

Your poor daughter. Do you have a Benedryl pen? (probably not...) Those things are the best!