It was a quiet Thursday afternoon when I was sitting at my kitchen island doing my online Zoom French class. I hear a knock at the door followed by a man shouting the word, "Maintenance!" I shoot a hopeful glance at my roommate, who sits next to me, and we both realize they are finally here to fix our kitchen sink. Without hesitation, I open the door and the plumber immediately walks in to get to work.
I sit back down to continue on with my classes for the day and occasionally get up to turn on the faucet or to answer the plumber's questions. My roommate heads into her bedroom to join a virtual Zoom meeting with her academic advisor. I sit alone in my kitchen with the hard-working plumber, when about two hours later he asks me to try turning on the hot water in my bathroom.
I hurry to my bathroom, as I don't want to keep him waiting, and I flick on the bathroom sink. I wait a few seconds when I decide to go back out to the kitchen. As I walk through the doorway, I see the plumber scrambling frantically to control the unbelievable volume of water spewing from under the kitchen sink. Suddenly my socks are wet and the water begins to puddle all around the kitchen floor. I see water flowing out everywhere.
As I try to process what my eyes are seeing at this very moment, the plumber shouts to me, "Go turn off the hot water!" I dart over to the laundry room and turn the blue handle labeled "Hot Water" on the pipe as quickly as I can. The plumber proceeds to tell me that his hand is the only thing keeping the water from flooding out again and I need to look for help. My roommate is still locked away in her room occupied with her own responsibilities. The pressure to avoid more flooding is up to me.
I throw on my black North Face and grab my mask (stay safe, folks) and dash down the stairs to the main lobby. I throw my fists up against the thick glass windows, hoping that anyone in the empty office will hear my desperate calls. I see a maintenance woman look at me, but she proceeds into an office out of sight, ignoring my need for help. Finally, I see my only hope: Steve the Maintenance Man. He unlocks the office door, and I shout at him with panic in my voice, "The heating valve under the kitchen sink exploded and my apartment is flooding!"
Steve breaks out into a full sprint towards the elevators, throwing everyone off so we can head straight to floor five. We unlock my apartment door to find a soaking wet plumber, and an even wetter kitchen. The three of us stand in shock looking at the destruction zone. Finally, Steve calls for another maintenance person to come with a mop and some cleaning supplies. The plumber, embarrassed at his dire mistake, explains that he simply didn't wait long enough for the glue to dry before he turned the water back on.
Feeling defeated, the plumber leaves to pick up a new kitchen sink part and Steve leaves. I sit back down on the wooden kitchen stool and realize I've already missed a significant chunk of class time while I was dealing with the chaos. The second maintenance man arrives to mop up the remnants of the plumber's mistake. My roommate finally emerges from her room, curious to hear all the harrowing details of what went down.
Hours later, the plumber returns to finish fixing the sink. He leaves and I can finally breathe now that this horrendous day is finally over.