Last night, my roommate and I found that there was no hot water in our apartment, so we guesstimated that the pilot light must be out on the water heater. I called my mom. She said “Outed pilot lights are dangerous, you could die!” (I hadn’t known this.) Meanwhile my roommate and I couldn’t even find the place where the pilot light might be, and kept joking about blowing ourselves up in increasingly nervous voices while we fiddled around, touching the heater’s trickier looking parts. My mom told us to call PG&E.
So I spent some time on the phone with a nice woman at PG&E. She asked if we smelled gas, and I said, a tiny bit, near the bottom of the water heater. (Though I did not mention that this area was just about eleven inches from the cat litter box.) She said that she would send someone out, but also that the PG&E technicians are not allowed to ring doorbells or use a phone to call you when they arrive, because an explosion could occur. This thought seemed sort of cinematic.
Doorbell: Ding Dong
Apartment building: Boom, gone.
I told her I understood. She went on to say that because of the no doorbell thing, the technician would not be able to come to a place that had a locked gate in front. Do you have a locked gate in front? she asked. I told her yes. She said this would be a problem. We lapsed into an awkward silence. Then I remembered that we had back steps, so I told her the technician could come around the back, which is gateless. She told me I would have to post a note in the front, instructing such.
I asked whenabouts we could expect the technician, and she said that they do not schedule specific times, but that whether or not the technician came that very night, PG&E would certainly make it safe inside our apartment, which might involve shutting off our gas. In concluding, she instructed me not to turn on or off any lights, nor touch the TV or use any appliances, and finally to not even hang up my phone after the call with her was finished. I was getting very scared now, but I was also getting very hungry.
I had just bought things to make nachos before getting home. I hadn’t eaten all day. Though the woman at PG&E hadn’t specifically mentioned the microwave, I assumed it was covered under the appliances category. But, I had already been turning lights on and off before she told me not to, and nothing bad had happened.
In the end, I was so hungry and so unafraid of death and the deaths of those around me that I went ahead and microwaved the nachos. Nobody got blown up, but now I’m feeling rather guilty. Should I? Or is risking your entire residential city block for the sake of some mediocre nachos pretty much standard protocol in terms of pilot light outages? Please advise!
Also, to wrap it, up PG&E guy rolled up around 11 p.m. and in fact DID ring the doorbell (twice). I went downstairs and opened the door and said sleepily, “We thought you weren’t coming!” to which he replied, “Oh we go all night!” and looked at me for maybe a beat too long, so was that an innuendo or what? Please advise.