Life events

The Misterious String

Photo by Adam Ferrari

After 14 hours on board a Sao Paulo-Madrid-Milan flight I was tired, hungry and desperate for a shower. As soon as I walked into my new house, I went straight to the bathroom. The shower area was smaller than usual, but it had everything I needed: soap, shampoo and hot water.


While I was in the shower, I stared at the wall above my head and saw a switch with a string hanging. ‘Hmm… that’s strange’, I thought. The shower has lost focus and even with foam shampoo hurting in my eyes, I was intrigued.

‘What would be that string for? To turn on the lights? Could be however there was no bulb in the ceiling.

‘Is it to unclog the drain?’ I looked down, the water was flowing fine. Does it change the water pressure? Does it turn off the bathroom lights?

What a mystery. I had this dilemma for 15 minutes until I pulled the string.

Do you know what happened?


Absolutely N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

I left the shower and asked my sister who lived in the house for five years.

“Carolina, why do we have a string at the bathroom?”

“Did you pull it? Tell me you didn’t”, she begged.

“Well, yes I did, but nothing happened.”

“Oh no, the neighbour is going to come here.”

At that moment I was completely lost. The apartment had a telephone and the doorbell… why would I call the neighbour pulling a string during my shower?

Few minutes later, the doorbell rang. Guess who was it?

The neighbour, of course, and she seemed distraught.

“Tutto bene, Carolina?” (“Are you okay, Carolina?”)

My sister apologised for my mistake and I asked for an explanation.

I found out that in Italy 70% of people are above 60 years old and because of that, some people install this string in case someone slips in the shower, feels sick or has a heart attack.


So, now you know too 🙂


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