The canals are a great addition to our city. They’re beautiful, serve as a free skating rink (about once every ten years) and give the city real character. At the same time, there are a few downsides. The bridges turn from picturesque photo opportunities into death traps when it snows. (Though admittedly, that also creates some good photo opportunities.)
They also create a bit of a rodent problem (hence all the cats). But the biggest problem of all is when things fall in.
What falls in the canal?
A lot of things do. About 35 cars go in per year, for example. The city has a special diving unit specifically to deal with them. They also pull out about 12,000(!) bicycles a year. And let’s not forget about the drunks! A lot of them end up in the canals as well. Most often, just after they thought it was a good idea to pee off the sides (apparently if you pee standing up while inebriated you can get dizzy and tip forward).
And then there are the keys. We blame the lock makers. They make their locks finicky and put them exactly there where the risk of an accident is greatest. And so, most of us long-term residents have been there. You go to your bike on the bridge, try to unlock your bike have a moment of butter fingers and whoops! Keys in the canal.
This happens so often that when Paap was out on his boat a little while ago and he saw a lady dangling a piece of string into the water with a desperate look on her face, he immediately knew she wasn’t trying to catch fish.
He was right. Her keys were at the bottom and her bait was a magnet she’d bought in a nearby shop. It was not proving to be up to the task.
A series of crazy events
- Crazy thing one: because Paap had seen this happen so often he actually had a powerful magnet for just such an occasion on board.
- Crazy thing two: Within a minute of using his magnet she found keys!
- Crazy thing three: They weren’t hers! Somebody else had gotten unlucky and dropped their keys at exactly the same spot.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. A few minutes later, she’d found her own keys and got to keep going with her day. As for Paap, he got to walk away with the warm glow of being somebody’s hero and he got a good story to boot! Not bad considering all it took was a string and a magnet, right?
So what should you do if you drop anything in?
In case you ever lose something in the water and a magnet doesn’t work (only iron, nickel and cobalt are magnetic) then there is another option. You can call the fire brigade. This is what one of our skippers did when he lost his wedding ring. They immediately got down there with their diving team and found it back for him.
Apparently, they don’t mind doing this, either! They see this as valuable exercise which helps them train for those times when they’re working against the clock. So, if you lose something valuable don’t be afraid to give them a call! Just make sure you remember exactly where it went in. Otherwise, with the water being as murky as it is, your chance for a happy ending will be much reduced.