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December 4, 2008 Life with Butagaz

Here are some of today’s snapshots of Things Most Americans Never Encounter (in chronological order), featuring only two items: butagaz and socks. Two of them happened to my sitemate, but none of them are fictional.

• Attaching a butane gas tank to a portable heater by means of a rubber hose
• Using a kitchen knife to hack off the plastic sealant knob over the nozzle of the butagaz tank
• Using a cigarette lighter to soften the rubber in a rubber hose
• Cutting off segments of burned rubber hose and starting over
• Watching three-inch blue flames dance above the hose because it wasn't fully sealed
• Discovering that you cut your hand in five places while wrestling with the knife, the tank, and the hose
• Maintaining balance while squatting over a “Turkish Toilet”, when your stocking feet are sliding on the ice that froze in the bathroom since the last time you poured water in to flush it
• Holding your stocking feet up to the butagaz flames to restore feeling to your toes
• Watching the steam rise from your socks
• Watching the smoke rise from your socks
• Looking at the sole of your foot and realizing that you just scorched your socks
• In bed that night, wiggling your toes and discovering that they now poke through your socks

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps