I was working from home, sitting in the living room, immersed in a project on my laptop. Curiously, down the hall it suddenly sounded like my shower was running. But with much more water pressure than usual.
After a split second pause in which my thought bubble would’ve said, “Does. Not. Compute,” I hopped up, ran down the hall and turned on the light – just in time to see water pouring through my bathroom fan and on to my toilet. Um.
I raced upstairs and pounded on my neighbor’s (of Mr. Stompy fame) door. As soon as he saw me he said, “We have it under control,” before I could even tell him I had water coming through my ceiling. Then he said, “I’ll be right down.”
I nodded and left. [When telling Alan this story he suggested that I should’ve said, “Control? Your definition of control involves water pouring through my fan? I think we need to revisit your grasp of the word.”]
When I got back downstairs, I was glad to see that the flow had reduced to a trickle, so I started mopping up the water. But although it was clear, it had a certain, suspicious eau de parfum to it that made me think of sewage.
When this dawned on me, I froze and stared at my hands, simultaneously kicking myself for not being the type of person to use yellow rubber cleaning gloves and wondering how scalding I’d have to make the water to feel my hands had been adequately cleaned. About this time, there was a knock on my door.
I opened it and my neighbor came in. “Let me see what’s happening,” he asked, moving toward my bathroom without waiting for an invitation. “So what happened,” he explained, “Is that Jude clogged the toilet. But he doesn’t understand how things work – I’m the fixer in this relationship – so he freaked out and tried to plunge it but then flushed before it had worked.”
I stared up in horror. “So this is an overflowed toilet?”
Michael nodded, taking it in stride. “Yeah. We just need to give it a minute and let it go back down before we plunge it. This toilet is so finicky. I could flush a BRICK down my other one – and sometimes I practically do – but this one? Not a chance!”
I was still looking at the ceiling, trying to understand how something overflowed so dramatically into my bathroom. And trying to process that I had, in fact, been sopping up my neighbor’s fecal water.
Apparently Michael thought I was staring at the ceiling because of the incessant squeaking come from the floorboards. “I need to get back up there – I can hear Jude pacing,” he gestured. “This has him really upset.”
Really upset? Upset that he doesn’t know how to work a plunger? Or upset that he essentially took a shit in my bathroom? Because I’d be willing to let him feel better if he wants to come down and scrub this joint.