Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Overflow

I'll never forget the day that I realized that my toilet was out to get me. It was several years ago, only a couple of days after my big move to LA.

I remember during those days I was doing a lot of thinking. Mostly about my latest life choices. Had I really just moved to Hollywood to pursue the impossible dream? Did I really move into an apartment with two people I had never met before and sign a year lease with them? (The answer to both of those questions was yes, the latter one turning out to be a huge mistake. But that's a story for a different day).

 I was thinking about these very things that fateful morning, when I rose from bed and walked down my small hallway towards the kitchen. I remember that at some point during this grand journey I made a startling discovery.

I had wet-sock. 

Wet-sock, of course, is when your socks become wet. And as you all know, there is no greater discomfort or misery than having wet-sock.

Anyways, for the first time since I had moved down to LA I had new thoughts to think about. One, why was I wearing socks and no shoes? I couldn't remember putting any socks on when I got out of bed, and yet there they were, on my feet, and wet as a dog.

That last part in itself was a mystery as well. How did they suddenly become wet?

I looked down behind me to the carpeted floor of the hallway. Wouldn't you know it, there was a big giant wet spot right there on the floor.

 How is this possible? I thought. Carpets don't just ooze liquid, if they did the national reports of wet-sock would be far far higher, and the world would be a much worse place to live in.

Then I discovered, as I moved in closer, that the water was not coming from out of the carpet but from underneath the bathroom door. I could see a light coming from the door as well. Clearly someone was in there, and for some reason, they were currently sending water from the bathroom out into the hallway.

What kind of people am I living with, I wondered.

In my anger, I pounded on the door.

 No one answered.

 I knocked again, this time shouting "Hello?! Anyone in there?! Why are you doing this?!"

 Again, no answer.

 I took a deep breath, grabbed and turned the doorknob, and pushed.

What I saw was rather frightening.

There was no one in the bathroom; not a soul. There was, however, a slow, steady and endless flow of water that was falling out of the toilet bowl and landing on the tile bathroom floor, and then rushing towards me and the carpet.

I realized then that my socks weren't just wet-socked, they were toilet-wet-socked. Which is literally the worst thing that could ever happen to someone.  

 The only thing that comforted me was that the water pouring out of the toilet bowl looked pretty clear and clean. I mean, I wouldn't want to drink it, or get it on my socks, but it wasn't urine or fecal-infested as far as I could tell.

I spotted a space on the tile floor over on the far corner of the bathroom that wasn't submerged in a pool of liquid, and moved over to it to get a better look in the toilet.

But as I peered in, I was again shocked to find... nothing. There wasn't a single thing inside the bowl except for water. How is that possible?  I wondered, as I grabbed the plunger. I pushed the head of the plunger into the bottom mouth of the bowl and tried to unclog something that I knew wasn't there. Unsurprisingly, that didn't do anything except cause the water to overflow faster.

I pulled the plunger out of the bowl and searched it, hoping to find written instructions on how to use it on nothing. There were no such instructions. 

I heard a door open from the hallway, followed by the sound of footsteps on non-wet carpet.

"Watch out! The carpet's wet!"

"Randy? What happened?" It was a female voice, which meant it was Kasey, the sole female of the apartment. 

"I don't know, I just found the toilet overflowing. How do I stop it!?"

"Use the plunger!"

"I tried, but there's nothing clogging the toilet! There's nothing in there at all, nothing I tell you!"

"OK, well then just shut off the toilet!"

I didn't have a response for this. Shut off the toilet? What does that mean? Does she think a toilet is something you could just unplug? I started to think about a toilet you could just plug in and then unplug, and then I pondered what advantages such a toilet might have, until Kasey's shrill voice snapped me back to reality.

"Did you shut it off?!"

"What do you mean, shut it off? Do  you mean, flushing it? I don' t think flushing it will help."

"No! Don't flush it! Turn it off! There is a valve on the back of the toilet, you need to turn it to stop the water from coming in!"

A valve? That can't be right, I thought. Surely if there was a valve on the back of every toilet I would have known about it by now. But I checked anyways, because I was desperate for solutions.

Sure enough, I found the valve. I turn it as hard as I can. 

"It worked!"  I cheered.

"Duh." Was all Kasey said in response. But that was enough to make me hate her.

The next twenty minutes we knelt down next to each other and used paper towels to soak up all the water from the carpet.

"I think I might actually have an old towel in the trunk of my car." I said. "I'll go check."

And so I headed out of the apartment and down our one flight of stairs that lead to our small garage. As I did this, I did a lot of thinking. Mostly about toilets.  How did I not know about that valve? How many more toilet secrets were there, and who stood to gain from withholding this information from me?

I was thinking about all of this until I came to my car, and then I saw something that made me, for the second time that day, shove all my thoughts away and focus on what was happening right before my eyes.

Some kind of liquid was dripping down from the ceiling of the garage.

It was a slow, steady endless drip.

And the drips themselves were murky brown and smelled fiercely foul.  

And these murky brown, foul smelling drips were landing right on my car. 

 The very car that was parked underneath the general vicinity of our apartment bathroom.

As I watched my car getting doused in this chunky brown, foul-smelling liquid splatter, something clicked inside my head and I suddenly saw the truth:

 -The toilet overflowing for no reason

-getting wet-socked (despite the fact that I don't think I ever put on socks)

- Kasey to scoffing at me for my lack of plumber knowledge

-and now, the disgusting drips of sewage water on my car.

It was all so obvious.

My toilet was a real son of a bitch. And it wanted me dead; or at the very least, it wanted me to be a really disgusting person.

And that is why I no longer use toilets.  True story (except for the thing about not using toilets. I do, but the trust is gone. The trust is gone.)

The End.

1 comment:

  1. This might be one of my favourite stories. "I mean, I wouldn't want to drink it, or get it on my socks..." :)