Stern Old Granny

Agnes: McBain’s angry spirit animal

The following brought to you by a sleepless, cold, and confused victim of dorm room facilities.

Picture this scenario: it’s 3:40 am, and you’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep and subsequently wake up for your 8:40 class tomorrow. You’ve managed to drown out the drunk seniors outside Havana, your roommate’s incoherent mumbling, and the suspicious noises coming through the wall. Blissful slumber starts to approach.

Then you hear this.

It sounds like a terrified woman screaming as she gets repeatedly stabbed. Is there an exorcism taking place under your bed? A new breed of city rats gathering to eat the dropped Milano’s sandwich on the floor? There’s no rhyme, reason or rhythm to the noise; on most nights, an irregular banging also occurs. There seems to be an especially enthusiastic session around 1:30/2:00 am — a.k.a. when you’re trying to be a good person and go to sleep early-ish.

It’s your fucking radiator. Or, as we like to call her in 821 McBain, Agnes. Sometimes she gets excited by the prospect of heating our room (which is ironic since she doesn’t do a very good job of heating) and basically climaxes. Loudly. All the time.

Columbia radiators — and most likely the radiators in your grandmother’s house —  make that squealing/banging/strangled screaming noise because they’re old, and the steam isn’t moving through the pipes efficiently. Either the valve (the part that you always scald your hand on when trying to adjust it) needs replacing, or the radiator itself isn’t working efficiently and probably needs to be bled (again with the terrifying radiator metaphors). And if it’s making that beautiful music you heard above, it most likely isn’t actually producing heat. Yay facilities.

But to answer your no-doubt burning questions: as easy as it is to make your radiator your friend with a name and a winning personality this way, the screaming is not an unfortunate truth of antiquated heating systems, as anyone over the age of 30 will tell you. It means Agnes (or Gertrude, or Harold) isn’t working to her/his/ze’s full potential. Get it fixed. Or you can always try to bleed it yourself….you need something called a radiator key, so good luck with that.

Coming soon
Agnes: The Dubstep Remix

Eerily like Bwog’s own grandmother via Shutterstock