Across the Pond

A year in the other Cambridge

Jet Lag Day 3: Fixed?


(3 posts in 3 days? I’m on a roll!)

This morning I was rudely awakened by frantic knocking on my door at 9:45am. Okay, fine, I know… but still, I’m jet lagged! Anyways, it was an electrician coming by to do PAT testing for my room. I have no clue what PAT stands for, but the college wants a catalog of all my electrical appliances and sends this dude around to test all of them.

First off, I was sleepy. Secondly, I was supposed to get an email the night before so that I could prepare for this visit–and I didn’t. I suspect the electrician got it wrong, because he also didn’t have the form I had filled out, and he was using someone else’s instead. And last but not least, he refused to test any of my American appliances because they were unsafe. Why? There’s no plastic insulation at the base of the prongs to protect against shocks.



I thought perhaps I had misunderstood him, because–really–don’t all kids learn not to put your fingers on those metal prongs? I’ve heard you figure it out quick if you don’t get it right away. So I asked, and he said “So you don’t get shocked! It can be pretty nasty!”

Deciding that there really was no argument against that, I pointed out that I had plenty of adapters that I could keep on my plugs permanently, and those had insulation to keep my little American fingers safe from the 220V burning through those British electrical sockets. He seemed unconvinced but said he would ask his supervisor to take a look.

So I waited. In the meantime, I looked up the charges for “faulty” appliances and was really hoping they’d let me off the hook for the 5£ fine per item for “administrative costs,” not to mention the 3£ replacement fee.

An hour later, he returned, giving me a replacement cord for my laptop (“Now you can charge your computer safely!”) and his supervisor came along soon after. He showed him my American plugs and UK adapters and complained about some other girls using similar contraptions, and the two of them tsked and sighed over the DANGER of it all. (Okay, to be fair, I’m dramatizing it. The two electricians were actually pretty nice, and they are just trying to be safe.)

They asked to take my things to show the domestic bursar to see if she had any suggestions, and when they returned, they said she would be “sorting it out.” And two hours later, I could leave my room and start my day… right around when I would have woken up anyways!

In other news, we had our first Grad Formal Hall of the term tonight, and this was the first time I (a) didn’t sit next to strangers, or (b) wasn’t sick. And it was a lot of fun! My first class is tomorrow, and I have lots of reading and a presentation to prepare for Monday and an interview for the PhD on Thursday. Should be a gooood weekend.


2 thoughts on “Jet Lag Day 3: Fixed?

  1. They then forwarded your American plugs up the British chain of command until finally the Prime Minster himself received assurance from Obama that these are, in fact, safe.

    Grad formal? Cool. I’m kind of pushing to have a tradition for one started at UCSD, but it’s offset by my laziness to organize it.

    Hope you rocked the interview!

  2. Hahaha, glad we got that sorted.

    Ooh, that sounds fun! Here it’s not quite the same as formals in the U.S. These are giant feasts where you wear gowns.

    I decidedly did not, but thank you^^ I miss you Mikey!!

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