The call comes drifting down the street and up to my window, pulling me from slumber.
“Butaaaaaanoooo!” Again the voice makes its way into my dreams accompanied by the clatter of gas bottles against each other as the delivery man makes his presence known. It’s near 9:00 am on a Saturday, the one day a week I’m actually at home when he comes by, but sometimes I wish he wouldn’t shout so loudly. It’s a rude awakening, what a way to start the weekend!
Lying in bed, fully awake now, I am amazed by his lung capacity, his voice ringing again loudly from below. Does he not tire of calling that same word over and over? Does he never loose his voice?
I decide to take a look out the window, I’m not going back to sleep now, so I might as well get up.
He keeps a beady eye on the balconies, searching for any indication that someone requires him to cart a heavy bottle up to their apartment to exchange for their empty one. I duck back inside, not wishing to order an unwanted bottle of butane today.
I can’t help but wonder when we’re due for a change. Last time we left it a bit in extremis, on a few occasions we have run out altogether before his weekly visit. Since we only use it for our gas cooker, one of those big orange bottles will last us several months and we have never invested in a back up.
It’s not like we can’t survive with our electric oven, microwave and things like salads, that don’t need cooking, if we do run out, anyway. We just have to get a bit more creative.
It’s not an exact science, but after a few times you get the hang of it. It’s always best to keep a lookout for tell-tale signs that yiu may be running low, the dimming of the flame and lack of power to cook your meal, the most obvious. But it is also important to make sure you’re not too hasty to order a bottle.
We did that once, ordered a new one by text (did you know they use WhatsApp for business too?) only to realize the bottle was far from empty. Another text, and some sort of excuse as to why we didn’t actually need one, later, miraculously our order was somehow misaken for a neighbours’ and we didn’t have to claim the unneeded bottle after all. Phew! Extra household cost averted.
I don’t know if all neighborhoods work the same (I imagine some newer areas have city gas) but in this part of town, if you need a gas bottle for your stove (or shower), wave to the man screaming ‘butano’ at the top of his lungs and he’ll bring it right to your door.