Will Milner has domestic problems and nobody can help with that.
It is 2am, I am wet, I am tired and I am losing an argument with a headless man’s trousers.
He does have a head, of course, but it is somewhere out of view between an air-conditioning vent and my water heater. Only the legs emerging from the bathroom ceiling and balancing on a stepladder are visible.
I could argue with the man standing lower down the stepladder, the man leaning against the wall or the man holding a chisel and staring at me, but I don’t think they could help. Go to the top is a good rule of making a complaint and I think that applies to ladders as well as organisations.
Besides, after 45 minutes of getting nowhere, I’m finally about to get a solution to the flood that has covered my entire apartment. This was not just the drip-dripping of a leaky tap. From the front door to the balcony at the opposite end, my entire apartment was flooded. My shower doesn’t have anything like the water pressure to produce the gushing torrent I found pouring down my walls when I returned from a late dinner. It was enough to kill the electricity, but by the light of my mobile phone I could just about make out the important documents I store safely under my bed floating past me into the corridor and I knew I needed to act fast.
But this is Dubai – a city of convenience – so, after a quick phone call three professionals were on hand to fix it. No matter the late hour. It’s true; a less optimistic person than me would have been worried that bringing a single chisel between them would not be the right tools for the job. But after ten minutes watching the water level rise further still, a fourth colleague turned up with a stepladder and I knew he was the right man for the job. Within moments he was in the ceiling and tapping away industriously. With a pen. After much discussion between themselves, furtive glances in my direction and a bit more looking at the flood they were ready to answer my question: ‘what’s going on here guys?’
‘I think your ceiling is leaking, sir,’ said the muffled voice from above.
I am pleased that my exact response to this dramatic understatement was not recorded over the sounds of the waterfall. I’m not proud of my ensuing tantrum (especially when stamping my feet splashed water over my couch) but sometimes that is the only way to get things done. And two hours, three phone calls and a lot of splashing later the problem was fixed. The moral of this story is that in Dubai it rarely rains, but sometimes it does pour, so when you’re under a deluge it is worth having a good plumber on speed dial.
Will Milner is our Editorial Director. We don’t know whether this is a metaphor or a true story.