It’s probably been about 25 years since I last woke up and thought “what’s that smell? Oh shit, have I shat myself?”, so when I woke up this morning to the stench of sewage rather than the smell of just a student bedroom (which for the record are actually different) I was caught a bit off guard. The smell was accompanied by the noise of some kind of contruction work outside, but as my road is currently being dug up for lamp-post rennovation that part didn’t really shock me too much. I stood up on the bed, but unfortunately the higher I got the stronger the odour became. I headed over to the window.
“Oh … shit!”
DrainsAid (yes they remove the space between the two words because … um … no I couldn’t find a reason either) had two trucks and were up the road doing … something. But this ‘something’ meant that not only was I going to miss the bowl of Shreddies that I was looking forward to (after I went and got milk the night before specially for it), but I also had to get the hell out of my room, lest I wish to vomit into my laundry hamper and further stink up the place.
I opened my bedroom door and was punched in the face with a brick-like fist of something I can only describe as a mummy’s arse, and the worst part was that my mouth was open. After wretching somewhats nastilly and giving all my inner strength to keeping the contents of my stomach down (I had eaten a mars bar during the night), I threw myself back into my less odour-filled bedroom and quickly shut the door. I threw on some clothes, any clothes, it didn’t matter which. I jotted down DrainAids phone number on a post it and shoved it in my pocket, took a photo of one of the trucks from my window, grabbed a can of air-freshener from the cupboard, stuck my head under my blanket and took a deep breath, and ran through the house spraying every cubic centimeter of air I could. After feeling faint, I crawled back to my room and stuck my head back under the blanket. Taking another deep breath I headed downstairs, where the smell had yet to have much of an impact (our toilets are on the middle floor, my floor), and was then out the door.
I wanted to call DrainsAid to find out why we hadn’t been given any notice that our house would be given the delightful aroma of swine-sphincter, but couldn’t stomach the idea of making a phone call on the middle floor. As they have a freephone number I headed to the phone box around the corner. Unfortunately there was someone already in there when I arived; a dying bee. Having already been subject to a wasp attack back when I was a lad, I didn’t fancy sharing any space with a pissed-off stinging thing-a-mi-bob. I popped to the next phone box along, only to find his equally dying and pissed off twin brother.
I took a walk down the road to my next nearest phone box. No bees in this one, just a lovely pile of sick. It didn’t smell though, and as long as I watched my footing I didn’t step in it; I really didn’t fancy looking for yet another phone box.
I got through to a guy at DrainsAid at about 2:10pm. I gave him details of what was happening and asked him why we weren’t told about it in advance. He said that he couldn’t find it on his system, but would give me a call back when he finds out. Poor guy sounded so downtrodden, perhaps they’re sorting the drains out outside their offices too, I thought.
I headed down to the Unipol (my landlords) office to see if they’d been told anything about works in the area, but again they’d heard nothing. They said that they too would get in touch with DrainSaid and see if they could find something out. Good ol’ Unipol. They asked me to get back in touch with them if the house still stank at about 4 o’clock, so in the meantime I headed to the Union for a bit of a nose.
While in the bookshop, nosing at the old crap that people don’t want section (aka 2nd hand books, three of which I ended up buying today), my phone rang. Unfortunately it stopped ringing before it had chance to actually make any noise. I had my phone in my hand so felt it vibrate, but it stopped just as I looked at the screen. I couldn’t even call them back, the buggers withheld the number. I knew it wasn’t Unipol (they don’t withhold their number and they actually wait for you to answer the phone), so I had a hunch it was DrainalAids.
I went back to the house and gagged on the smell of sewage and over-excitable air-freshening. Thankfully the drainage guys had left so the rancid smell had begun to subside. I went back to Unipol to let them know the scented-situation.
DrainAid explained to Unipol that they had drainage work scheduled in the area either on Monday or tomorrow (I won’t lie, I don’t remember which), so it couldn’t possibly have been them. Oh DrainsAid, don’t be so silly. You know in this day and age everyone hates liars (and also carry phones with cameras). I explained to the guy at Unipol that I had taken a picture of one of the vans, to which he said he’d call them up again and then give me a call. After leaving the office I had a good look at the picture to see if I could see the licence plate as well. My first camera phone wasn’t as good as this.
I had a call not too much later. Apparently DoughnutAid had indeed been working up the road on an Emergency call out due to some of the flats accross the road getting flooded. Now to me that’s a good enough reason for not giving us notice. There’s no need to claim that they weren’t there and there’s definately no need for the half-arsed attempt of “calling you back”. The only result from this is that DrainsAid now look like an unprofessional organisation who don’t even know where their own staff are.
I went to the pub and caught the end of the South Africa Vs Mexico match (it is World Cup time after all), before heading home to air out the house a bit more.
As usual with my complaints I invite DrainsAid to comment on here and will send them an email to let them know about the entry. It’s getting a bit late so I’ll probably do the Japanese version to this in the morning.