Sunday, June 03, 2007

Why Would it Work? (WWIW). This picture may look like Rach has got a corkscrew stuck up her nose but that's not what's going on... actually, in her right hand she is holding the top of the corkscrew which broke while I was trying to undo a bottle of wine yesterday. It is a recent and classic example of WWIW? - Why Would it Work? Brazil is great for many things, but it has to be said (and I think most Brazilians would agree) things, don't always work as expected... And I know, back in the UK everyone has "one of those days" but sometimes round here it feels like a novelty NOT to have one. The phrase Why Would it Work? (WWIW) was coined by Richard, a Brit on the CELTA course in January, and it has been uttered with frustrating regularity around here over the last couple of weeks. As a taster, within the last fourteen days...

The clock at the bottom of the stairs stopped working (WWIW)
The car wasn't going right because of dirty petrol (WWIW)
Half the electricity is missing from our house, although it momentarily returned during a rainstorm before flickering out again (WWIW)
The cable TV sometimes cuts out (WWIW)
The TV has very strange sound levels that mean you have to watch films constantly fiddling with the volume on the remote to try and hear the dialogue as well as avoid waking Nelsinho with the deafening music (WWIW)
The internet server is temperamental and shuts down often (WWIW)
The car needs a new starter motor (WWIW)
My new watch resets itself every time the alarm goes or you try to use the stopwatch (WWIW)
The fan in Nelson's room has packed up (WWIW)
I couldn't get hot water from the shower on Friday (WWIW)
The printer in the Teachers room only works occasionally (WWIW)
The computer in the Teachers room reboots at random (WWIW)
The DVD players in the classrooms at Cultura sometimes spit out the DVDs they're supposed to be playing (WWIW)
The natural gas option in our hybrid car pops worringly so we have stopped using it (WWIW)
Nelson manages to burst his nappy on regular occasions (WWIW)
I try to speak Portuguese but nobody understands (WWIW)
The light bulb in the fridge has stopped working (WWIW)
The man coming to fix our electricity can't come on the day we thought he would (WWIW)
and so on...

But before you start quoting me the Scripture "Do everything without complaining", let me be the first to hold my hand up and say that sometimes we create our own problems. We have become so used to our car having problems that we took it straight back in last Wednesday when the A/C stopped working. A/C is essential round here, and it had been working before we took it in to the shop about the dirty petrol. (One theory: is the garage sabotaging our car so we keep giving them business?). Anyway, our fears for the car were unfounded on this occasion - the mechanic called us up and, with barely disguised amusement mixed with contempt, he explained we had simply failed to turn the A/C on... it was in fine working order, but the reason we weren't feeling any cooler is that we had failed to PRESS THE SWITCH. So, in conclusion - sometimes my brain malfunctions (WWIW).

ps. WWIW should not be confused with WWJD.


Matt Neighbour said...

Oh where to start?!

You should really get your electricity problem sorted out, that sounds quite worrying. I suspect that all your computer problems could be due to poor quality electricity, if you can you should try to get an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that also filters out spikes etc, you should find that the random reboots etc are less frequent then.

The TV problem sounds like surround sound not downmixing properly, like you are only listening on two speakers and the cable box or whatever thinks there are five. It would direct dialogue to the centre speaker which is why it is too quiet if you haven't got one. Music on the other hand would normally come out of front left and right. Check your settings :-)

Other than that it must be the heat that makes electronic equipment somewhat unreliable. It might even be worth opening up the school computers and making sure everything is plugged in securely, cables can work loose (especially due to big changes in temperature) and cause random problems.

Hang in there anyway, and keep posting about your adventures!


Danny said...

I think the problem is actually a nasty case of chenabé...