For the first time since I began to occupy this apartment sometime in September, I am mercifully free of the dripping dropping plipping plopping noise that has unceasingly emanated from the bathroom sink. And feeling rather sheepish for not taking care of this a lot earlier. Of course, my crude methodology for said caretaking was the product of an initial reticence to report the drip to my landlord since he’d shut off the cold water’s flow to the sink just prior to my occupation. Or the prior tenants had and he’d neglected to notice, in conjunction with the town-appointed apartment inspector.
Basically, it seemed counterproductive to report something to the landlord that evidence suggested he’d both known about and attempted to cover up, or at the absolute least heavily neglected. There were also questions of tone-setting: did I really want to be the tenant who called up with a complaint on day three in a building? He’d have every reason to assume I’d be hauling various contractors and nitpickers through the place daily. Of course, it’s also possible that he didn’t know and he wouldn’t hold an early maintenance call against me, but the drip was manageable enough that I just didn’t much care either.
Thus days passed. And soon weeks. A couple visitors came after a couple months and were sequentially freaked out by their disastrous encounters with the cold tap, no less so because every faucet turn in this place is strangely reversed from the customary rotations found in American homes. I kept forgetting to warn people before their use of the bathroom, then kept hearing a vague scream and gush from said locale when people realized that merely tapping the cold knob brought an unstaunchable flow of frigid water. In I went, repeatedly, to rescue the startled guests.
Over time, the leak slowly worsened. My little tricks for twisting and pulling at the knob so it stayed just so and only let out drops instead of a trickle started to lose effectiveness. I even resigned myself to the idea of not using cold water in the bathroom sink at all, brushing my teeth in the kitchen, but I couldn’t even restore the shut water valve from my initial arrival in Highland Park. The trickle slowly became a small steady stream. I did my best cramming of it just before I left for a month in New Mexico and hoped that the water shutoff valve just took a few hours to take hold.
Upon return, the stream was even stronger. To the point that it has greatly interfered with my getting to sleep the past two nights in a way that even the steady rhythm of periodic dripping didn’t. After forty-eight hours of just trying to put up with it, I finally took a screwdriver, pliers, and hammer to the thing. At last! The knob of extreme brokenness had met its match:
Unsurprisingly, it was remarkably easy to twist the underlying mechanism that actually controls the water flow once the loose knob was unceremoniously removed. And now, as I type, I have a drip-free bathroom sink. And an errand to run at Home Depot at some point before vacating the apartment. And a fervent hope that my landlord doesn’t read this blog.
If you’re wondering, Ol’ Drippy is also a reference to an obscure Aqua Teen Hunger Force character who prompted Fish’s first introduction of the series to me. The other day, a propos of little, he mentioned to me “I miss Ol’ Drippy.” Sadly, the phrase worked on a number of levels, none of them particularly unsad.
It’s snowing now, the foretold precipitation swirling and flying across the lamppost out my window that usually annoys me but also serves as a spotlight for every snowstorm or rainfall. I’ve considered going out to construct a fort or a snowperson or even just to play, hoping the cover of late overnight might shield me from the askance looks I could expect to garner from this very serious community and its residents. I’m not on a campus anymore no matter how much time I spend on them, not twelve or sixteen no matter how much I feel it. I’m probably expected to react to snow with the tired frustration of those who believe it’s important to live, but have already forgotten how.
I didn’t even react to snow that seriously troubled me that way, though. Coming back from the debate trip to Dartmouth, the snow was piling high and ferociously throughout New Hampshire and well into Massachusetts. It was probably the least safe driving conditions I’ve faced since the drive a week earlier, but competing with Montreal before that or another drive back from Dartmouth or the hurricane upon return from a more recent PC. Yes, all my most dangerous moments behind the wheel have been in pursuit of (or retreat from) a debate tournament. Except perhaps the one time I fell asleep on the way to the Grand Canyon and woke up in the opposite fast-lane of a 70 mph highway.
I am far from all of this tonight as I wonder how late I can stay awake to watch the flakes fall, snow that’s supposed to be gone by morning as the southern storm drives warmer weather north to melt tonight’s joy. Somewhere in all this is a series of metaphors about the way I live, the way I should, the way I get myself into trouble. Or maybe it’s a story of patience and perseverance, that putting up with a drip is a branch of unconditionality and acceptance that has served me poorly but itself patiently persists within my character. In the modern world, we have only snow to remind us to be patient, piling itself in passive opposition to the daily chore and routine, insisting that an amalgam of the softest, gentlest entities create the greatest bulwark against hasty human pursuits.