All over the world, we teach our children to ‘never ever go with strangers!’ But here on the streets of in Beirut, I teach my children never EVER to touch an iron lamp post, electricity post or iron fence.
This may sound odd, as odd as “look right, look left, and look right again before crossing the street” but when we walk on the street, and a lamppost blocks our way, I go “DON’T TOUCH THE LAMP POST!” It isn’t as easy as it sounds, because the municipality just loves to put these lamp posts right in the middle of the side walk, so you have to wiggle your way either through wall & post or parked car & post.
And it really isn’t that odd either, if you read all these stories about North American pet owners who have had their dogs electrocuted while stepping on man hole covers. And believe me; if it happens in the ‘civilized’ west, it is happening here. Maybe dogs don’t get electrocuted here in Beirut, because who has dogs here?
But I once knew a lady here, whose 5-year old son was getting into a small plastic baby pool at the ground floor of their building, while holding the fence, and ‘ZAP’, he was gone. Seems one of the neighbors was tapping into the city grid, and had the wires running from the electricity pole, past the fence, to his balcony.
On my daily dog walk route, there is one lamp post, where the bottom cover is gone, and you can see all the wiring hanging loose. It is just at ‘pee’ height, and every time I see my dog lift his leg against the post, I hope he doesn’t hit the wiring, because it will be a ‘hotdog’, and how will I be explaining that to my daughter?
The electric wiring here is something eerie. It’s hanging loose, along walls, tied to (iron) fences, the wires blow with the wind, are tied, retied and triple tied with pieces of plastic, iron and whatever.
And yet you seldom hear of people getting electrocuted. Is it because we all teach our children well? Or maybe because of our lack of electricity? I don’t know.
But in the meantime, in my household it is “DON’T TOUCH THAT IRON POLE!”