Sunday, January 11, 2004

I called my boss this morning, said, "I am not going to be able to come into work this morning." Annoyed, she responded, "You just asked to come in and work this morning."

"I know," I said, very well aware that I had indeed done so, but today I just could not come into work. "My apartment is flooded. The boiler exploded last night, and I have to clean it up today."

"Okay," she said annoyed, probably believing that I was lying.

I was not. Last night, I got home from work, saw a puddle on the living room floor, and heard a jet stream of water splashing around in Min's room. The heater in Min's room was shooting out water onto the walls. I realized that the plot of horror movies is just a more exaggerated version of the homeowner's nightmare. Water/blood shooting out everywhere. The domestic space spiraling out of control, turning into a haunted house, something we cannot control. I put a towel over the source of the water, threw a towel on the living room floor and ran downstairs panicked in search of my landlord, Iris. She was not there, but her tiny old mother was, mopping up water that was way worse on their floor and was streaming through the ceilings. She also does not speak English. The rest of her family was in Pennsylvannia. With many difficulties communicating with her, I found out tha tshe had contacted the heating company, and that they were on their way, but it would take a while since appearantly lots of boilers could not handle the coldness of yesterday. I said okay, and went back upstairs to fret about the situation some more even though there was really nothing I could do. I eventually went to bed, only to be woken up at six, by a violent pounding on my door. It was the little old grandma, screaming for help, that I needed to call the heating people for her since she doesn't speak much English. Appearantly the guy came at three, and it took little grandma a while to get to the door since she was upstairs, and she yelled after him but he was already leaving.

So I called, talked to a very confused heating guy who didn't understand why the owner wasn't calling. I explained. And he said he would send someone but it might take a couple of hours but to turn off the main water. I went downstairs with grandma to look at the pipes. She let me borrow a pair of her tiny flip flops. We went down into the wet basement, stood in freezing cold water and tried to figure out the pipes. She said that she had already tried but that the water didn't turn off. And true enough, I found the same thing. I was no handyman. My father tried to get me to help when he played around with cars, when he did mechanical things, but I didn't, and now, times like these, I pay the price, standing in ankle deep ice water, twisting a pipe handle grudingly and finding it does nothing, that I don't know what I am doing. I am dependent on some heating guy to come resue this apartment building, feeling impotent.

I gave her back her flip flops, her tiny flip flops, which I wore anyways, told her that the heating guy should come soon, apoligized because I didn't know what else to do, saw that the ceiling on the main floor had come off, and water was streaming through, went back to the top floor, wrapped towels around my feet, hoped that the buidling did not collapse, and went back to sleep. So, no, I was not lying about the flood.

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