Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to Wash One's Feet in my Flat

As is typical for me, this post is about something that happened a while ago. In this instance, though, the time the time delay is large, even for me. I am recounting something which happened in September, while I was between flatmates; I began drafting the post when it was still relevant, but then forgot about it. I don't know how much affect this has on the verisimilitude of this anecdote for you to learn that the issue is long-resolved, but, oh well: here it is.

My bathtub/shower drain is blocked. It happened very suddenly: between showers, it appears. One day my morning shower was typically shallow, the following day, it wasn't. Now, every shower I have ends with me stepping out of soapy, ankle-deep water. Although, in all due fairness to my bathtub, I don't think that the drain is completely blocked; the water does drain away after a couple of hours.

Things were tolerable up until I tried to fix them. I found a plunger in my flat, wedged with admirable force behind the toilet, and thus I took to trying to clear the impenetrable drain. A few seconds of concerted plunging drew some black lumps of -- as a best case scenario -- skin and dirt out of the drain and into the water in the bath. However, the water didn't drain away any faster, and the black lumps simply floated, providing an interesting contrast to the soap suds.

Frustrated, I made lunch, read a book, and waited for a few hours. Upon my return, I found the bathtub empty -- and dark brown. I ran some water into the bath, and took to plunging again. It felt as though I was trying to slay a Galapagos tortoise. I drew up a great deal more partially composted filth, and yet the water was not draining any faster.

One more attempt that evening still produced no resolution to the situation. I can think of worse things than a filthy, undraining bathtub, but I can think of many things that I prefer.

My subsequent morning shower was, therefore, spent making sloshing noises in my paddling-pool of a bathtub; dirt, lather, and unidentifiable drain-filth floating ever higher as I washed.

There's more. It wouldn't be at all interesting if there weren't more.

The water from my bathtub appears to only travel the distance of a few centimeters through its pipe before meeting the water leading from the hand-basin. I know this because, now whenever I brush my teeth, a milky column of toothpaste billows from the drain up into the bath, lingers, then dissipates into the water, to merge with the list of impurities already in the unwanted bath.


I'm becoming frustrated with my clear inability to finish these little anecdotes of mine. So-much-so that I typed "how to finish an anecdote" into Google. My search did not match any documents. I looked up "anecdote" on Wikipedia, and I am now under the impression that an anecdote must have some sort of conclusion to it. Maybe it should be obvious that a story must have a conclusion for it to have an end. Well then:

After about two weeks of washing my feet with dirt and toothpaste, the drain cleared -- note the use of the middle voice: no external agent implied. One day, it wasn't draining, the following day it was. Problem solved. Anecdote concluded satisfactorally.


Anonymous said...

My solution to this would have been sodium hydroxide in dangerous concentrations.

O Graeme Burns said...

I don't know what sodium hydroxide is, where to get it in Russia, or what to call it in Russian. A good idea, but with one problem: it wouldn't work.