“Let’s see what happens if we flush,” Mom said.
So we flushed.
My toilet pipes exploded. Water shot out. Within seconds, there was a violent river from my bathroom, through the bedroom and into my living room. I tried putting my hand over it, but the water just shot through. I tried clogging it with a towel and sitting on it, but the water just … shot through. So I called 9-1-1.
It reminded me of “Home Alone,” when Kevin tries to escape through the neighbors basement, which is flooded with water. My things floated out from my bedroom to the living room: pencils, toilet paper, tooth brushes, my dog. I thought, for sure, my apartment was ruined.
But, eventually, firemen came and shut off the water. Eventually, we cleaned out my apartment. And, now, I am ready to sleep in my dry apartment under warm covers.
I am so blessed. The list:
1. When the pipes exploded, it shot off a huge metal cap which shattered a piece of tile. In my tiny bathroom, it entirely missed my mom.
2. I moved into this apartment on August 15. On August 16, I noticed huge cracks in the wooden floors. I always hated how poorly constructed this unit was. But today they served as a great drainage system. Without them, this apartment would be under two feet of water.
3. My apartment is crooked. I feel like I’m always tipping over. Today, the tilt of the floors guided the water away from anything important and straight out the door.
4. My parent live in Vietnam now. There are visiting for one week. If these pipes exploded when I was home alone, I probably would’ve cowered in fear and drowned. If I survived, I would still be cleaning up.
5. No one was on the toilet when it exploded.
6. Nothing was in the toilet when it exploded.
7. My dad wanted to go to Niagara Falls during this trip. But we decided it was too far away. Today, we brought the falls to him.
8. The fire station is right behind my apartment.
9. My dad saved a power strip right before it was engulfed by water. That strip was plugged into my computer, monitor, speakers, TV and cable box.
10. My mom rescued the toilet paper. So we can still wipe.
11. Two hours before this “pipe leak,” I mailed a letter to my landlord saying I will not be renewing my lease.
12. As water burst into my living room, my family rushed to block the water and redirect it. Oh, and they did it while making jokes. Poop jokes.
When the flood was over, I was amazed that nothing — absolutely nothing — was damaged. I went downstairs to see how the people living below me were doing. And when I saw their apartment, I struggled to comprehend the disaster.
An old woman lives downstairs with her husband, who struggles to walk by himself. He uses a walker, and she stays beside him for support.
They have been here since 1977.
All the water from my room drained into their apartment. Their ceilings had fallen; the electricity had shorted out. All their belongings were soaked in water. It already smelled of mold.
They looked all over the city for a hotel room, but everything was booked because of a UN conference. So they stood outside their door, soaked in water, saying, “Don’t worry about us. We will be OK.”
Eventually I found them a hotel room, but several miles away in Chelsea. It cost them a small fortune. It is unclear how long the will be there.
Today, I feel incredibly blessed. They are incredibly unfortunate. We did nothing to deserve it.
Blessings are gifts. And it’s always nice to acknowledge how they come about. But I think it’s more important to see how we can help those from our position of power. Because, the way this world works, floods have to drain somewhere. And the reason for our fortune may be that our floods are draining on others.