THE boiler is making a noise. It makes a lot of noises, generally all the time it’s on, but this is a whole new noise.
Specifically, a jingly noise.“Did you hear that?” I ask my boyfriend. “The boiler is making a jingly noise.”
He gives me one of his world-weary looks,
“Listen!” I say, as it does it again. “Jingly. It sounds like there’s a set of keys jingling about. That’s not normal, is it?”
“Maybe there is a set of keys jingling about in it,” he suggests, ever the pragmatist.
I stick my head under the boiler and peer up, silently begging it not to explode on my face. No keys.
“I think it might explode,” I say, at the exact same time he says, “It’s not going to explode.”
But he doesn’t know it isn’t going to explode, he’s only guessing.
One of the things that bothers me most in life is not knowing for definite whether or not things are going to explode.
And, surely, just after saying ‘it’s not going to explode’ is statistically the most likely time for something to explode?
This could be exactly like in my old flat, when I thought we had a gas leak and everyone kept saying, ‘we don’t have a gas leak’ in exasperated voices. Then it turned out that we DID have a gas leak. Neurosis 1, logic 0.
And so we sit – him watching Game of Thrones, me watching the boiler. I have convinced myself that if I stare out the boiler, nothing bad will be allowed to happen.
A watched boiler never explodes, that’s the motto.
The jingling stops, then starts again, then stops again.
I Google ‘boiler making jingly noises’ for reassurance, and am dismayed to find that not a single other person on the whole of the internet has had a jingly boiler.
Not one. There are boilers that bump, and bang, and rattle, and wheeze (which now I’ve written it looks like a fantastic dance record from the late ’50s) but no boilers that jingle. Maybe it’s just a matter of phrasing.
I try ‘boiler making jangly noises’, and find nothing. I try ‘boiler making tinkly noises’, and find nothing.
I try ‘boiler making metallic noises’ and find one post on a forum from a man who seems to think this is A Very Bad Thing, so I quickly close the page in fear and go back to staring at the boiler.
If I keep staring at the boiler, it can’t possibly explode – that would just be too much of a coincidence.
Maybe if I tell more people about it, the boiler definitely won’t explode. Maybe if I write a column about it, the boiler won’t explode.
Or maybe I just turn the boiler off and put another jumper on.