Around two PM I got antsy. I’d been doing some boring PhD stuff on the computer and I’d resolved not to leave for lunch until I’d finished the task of updating my eProfile. I could feel myself getting increasingly irritable because I was hungry and the internet wasn’t working consistently, but I buckled down. On realizing I needed something from the other room, I got up to fetch it and noticed the edge of the carpet was wet.
Then I saw the water. It was coming from the hallway in little ripples, creeping its way into the living room and washing gently up against the carpet, for all the world like the ocean meeting the shore. I think I stopped breathing, because little black spots began swimming before my eyes. I followed the trail of water up the hallway past my bedroom door into the bathroom.
I was briefly convinced this was the work of the devil. Where was all this water coming from? Hell, obviously, guided by Satan in a reverse Moses-style experience.
I walked into the sodden bathroom and beheld the washing machine still rotating with the DOOR WIDE OPEN and many of my clothes tumbled in a heap on the floor, a neat little waterfall rippling gently over them from the washer.
The next few paragraphs take a lot of describing, but the whole thing couldn’t have taken more than a couple of minutes. I turned the washer off then picked my way back down the hall – I’m fairly sure I was whimpering and making little “eeeeeeeeeee!” noises – stopping to see how bad the damage in my room was on the way. Fortuitously, the water had run straight into the living room, not making a detour into my bedroom en route.
I looked at the living room rug. The water had seeped in about a foot from the edge. I looked at the furniture, the wood frames at the bottom of the chairs and the couch magically keeping the flood at bay, preventing the water from touching the cloth. I tipped back the edge of the rug, thinking to get it out of the water then realizing this was just making the water go further into the center of the room.
I decided it was time to call in reinforcements. “ALLISON! IT’S CAITLIN! I’VE FLOODED MY APARTMENT! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!! CALL ME BACK WHEN YOU GET THIS!”
I also tried calling my roommates, but they must’ve been in class.
At this point, I reasoned that it would be helpful if my clothes were not sopping wet and therefore difficult to remove from the washer, having not yet been spun dry. I returned to the bathroom, slammed the washer door and stuck it on spin.
In retrospect I realized that this was a foolhardy move as I could’ve electrocuted myself or started a fire if the water was anywhere near the socket. But I didn’t. It worked fine and my clothes are now less wet than they were. I probably would’ve been more cautious if I didn’t already know that the washer door takes some finagling to close properly, and it was more likely to be a simple door malfunction than a completely broken washer. I was right; the flood didn’t get any worse once the washer door started doing what it was supposed to do.
After checking my roommate’s bedroom – also miraculously water-free – I decided to calm myself by finishing my eProfile. Allison called back, asking if I needed the national guard sent in to rescue me and suggesting that the bowaab could call a plumber if I needed. By this point I’d already flung open all our windows and French doors, and in that few minutes the tides had begun to recede. Apart from some heavy-duty mopping and hanging the living room rug out to dry, there wasn’t much that needed doing.
Before breaking out the ol’ mop and bucket I decided to go for some lunch finally, as I was starting to feel weak from hunger and relief that nothing truly awful had happened. On the way out the door Eva called and asked if everything was okay. We had a conversation that started, “Well, you know how the washer door doesn’t always close all the way?” and ended with her laughing hysterically at my panicked antics when she realized nothing was really broken or permanently damaged. I am deeply, deeply relieved that not only did the water not do anything but make our floors shiny, but my roommates are laid-back enough not to care about something like this.
After lunch I came back to find that the water had mostly dried up of its own accord; I made a few swipes with the mop at the bathroom floor but mostly I just gave thanks for living in a desert country. Then I had to move the sodden rug from the living room out to the balcony. This was a little more difficult though not nearly as bad as if it had been one of the bedroom rugs, since the only furniture sitting on top was our coffee table and a couple of the chairs right at the edges. Pretty soon I was dragging it down the hallway, for some reason grabbing it by the squelchy sodden end. It got stuck on one of the French doors, then it got stuck on the screen door for the French door, and soon I was mumbling through gritted teeth, “come on bastard rug!!” Eventually I wrestled the thing over the top of the balcony railing where it is now drying, in the process cutting off access to the clothesline. Which is unfortunate because my only pillowcase was in the washing machine!
I am, as I said, extremely grateful that nothing was permanently damaged and nobody was injured. But when I was regaling my friend Lorna with the whole fiasco later and she recalled that I’d already been involved with a flooded houseboat she looked at me and said, “you have the worst luck. I’m never inviting you to stay at my house!”