“There is water shooting out of the wall behind my bathtub and it is flooding my apartment. I don’t know how to make it stop!”
I didn’t hear the voice mail message until after the fact but given the severity of the situation, she sounded relatively calm. It was the pounding on my door that alerted me to the trouble. We ran down to her apartment where I saw the water spouting up from behind the clawfoot tub, the legs of my sweatpants immediately soaked, forcing me to pull them up to my knees as I waded through the flooded bathroom. I dived right in searching for the knob to turn off the water flow. Despite turning it, the water still poured out. My glasses were fogged up from the heat and my shirt and hair were drenched. I climbed into the tub and realized the source of the water was from an old pipe with its own valve. I could barely reach it to turn it off. The water was hot and shooting directly into my face. But I did it. I stopped the water.
Apparently some shampoo bottles had fallen between the wall and the tub. The force of their trajectory must have hit the valve resulting in the water eruption. Why on earth they left a working pipe with its own valve there without closing it off is beyond me but a lot of the plumbing around here is shoddy from the former owners. Since it was an un-used pipe, the water was brown and mucky at first so there was grime amongst the water, on the walls and the ceiling. It was a mess.
So we mopped and dis-infected and hung rugs out to dry and I went back to my apartment to shower even though I looked like I already had, fully clothed. I felt proud of myself for finding the source and stopping the flooding from causing further damage. As I stood there in the shower relishing in my accomplishment I realized that’s what I’ve been wanting all along- to be able to stop the flood at its source.
Because I’ve been metaphorically ankle deep in the water, soaking wet, watching the geyser, wondering how the fuck this happened. Just standing there in it, crying. But what I needed to do was find the valve, turn it to off, clean up the mess and move on.
So that’s what I am doing.
Not everything is in my control but some things are.