Our pipe to the washer has been leaking for months. We generally turn off the water to the pipe when we aren't using the washer and put a bucket underneath when the washer is in use. Our TV picture has been streaked with lines for months, but just this past week it turned the colors turned red and green. So we switched the picture to black and white. But the other day our toilet stopped flushing. Kevin took off the top and fashioned a bent coat hanger for manual flushing, but we decided to it was probably time to call the landlord.
Today our landlord arrived. Naturally, after a week of being messed up, the TV colors were normal again. He said if it gives us problems again we can get the cable company to come and fix it. The only problem is we haven't signed up for cable. Not really a problem, he says, just sign up for a few months worth (probably about $10-15) then have them come fix it. If it still doesn't work, he'll buy a new TV, since this one is 7+ years old.
Though the bathroom floor was still covered with water from today's washing machine usage, the landlord said the leaking pipe wasn't really a problem. So he really surprised us by looking at the toilet, and not even suggesting calling a plumber, said, “No problem; I'll replace it!” What?? Buy a new toilet when you could fix the slightly broken (albeit pretty crappy) one? Inconceivable.
In China, something isn't considered broken until it can no longer be used in any capacity whatsoever. If your A/C still puts out slightly cool air or the pipe isn't leaking too much or the TV still has any kind of picture, it's not broken. Once it is considered broken, much to their credit, everything is fixed and fixed and fixed until it reaches the point of no return; only then is it replaced. You can get almost anything fixed in China, and usually for a very low price. So our landlord's response was quite shocking.
To be honest, my first thought was not excitement. I don't know what is involved in replacing a toilet, but it sounds pretty 麻烦 ma fan (troublesome/inconvenient). And nothing ever goes as smoothly as it should. I picture a lot of mess and noise and chaos, not to mention no toilet! But afterward, perhaps we will end up with a toilet that actually works, even works well, and that would be nice.
On an unrelated note, I should mention that today in class we learned that 好容易 hao rong yi (roughly “very easy”) means with great difficulty, ie. NOT easy. The only thing more confusing is that 好不容易 hao bu rong yi (“very not easy”) means the same thing!! That revelation brought forth a small around of heads banging on desks.
Here's to hoping this toilet replacement will not be 好容易 OR 好不容易!