Earlier today while stuck in a whirlpool 1000 spreadsheets and 100 postcards, we got a knock on the door. The knock was a good thing in that it meant I probably hadn’t imagined a previous knock shortly after alighting from the shower when Andy was in Bangkok picking up our Russian visas. Sanity is precious, after all.
The bad thing was that it was a man from the electric company who was coming to turn off our power. Power that we had most assuredly paid for with our very own money for the three months that we have lived in this particular apartment at the 7-11 down the street.
After much gesturing and many frantic phone calls and general communication breakdowns that would probably be amusing for you to read if I only had the wherewithal to recount them, we learned that the owners of the apartment that we rent had not paid the electric bill for May. If you recall, we moved to this particular housing unit three weeks into June. As the electric company turned off the power, Andy heroically found and presented the receipts for our energy charges and called our leasing agency while I did important things like change my clothes and drink a glass of water.
The amount of the overdue bill? 55 baht. Less than $2.00USD.
The electricity company came to turn off our power over a delinquent payment of $2.00. $2.00!
Things that cost more than $2.00:
- Dinner for two from most street carts and hole-in-the-wall noodle joints–even the shady ones.
- A bottle of Singha.
- A gas fill-up for a tiny, 100CC motorbike.
- The labor of the electrician and administrator who showed up at our apartment to turn off our electricity.
- An ice coffee.
- Nail polish.
- A stick of deodorant.
We do the logical thing and offer to pay the bill that is not ours on the spot just to keep our refrigerator running, but of course this is not possible. To pay the bill, we must go to the electric company on the other side of town bearing a purple piece of paper filled with complicated Thai sentences. The purple paper of shame handed to me by the very, very polite electrician who turned off our power.
Another thing that costs more than $2.00: A round-trip via songthaew from our apartment to the electricity company. We don’t have a motorbike anymore.
After fretting about with staff from the apartment building and electricity company for the better part of an hour, the leasing company finally calls back. They finally take care of the problem that was theirs. Their problem that they gave to us, the least-equipped set of people ever.
We recovered over bowls of khao soy.
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