My lovely mother reads this blog, which means sometimes I elide the truth here. Well, that’s not exactly right. Sometimes I let discretion be the better part of valor and I don’t share certain things on a timely basis as I don’t want my dear mom to worry about her son off in the wilds of Central Asia. One of those things that I haven’t been entirely forthcoming about is that I haven’t really had water in my apartment the past week or so.
I’d come home at night and I’d hear a hissing sound for awhile when I turned on the tap, and then nothing. Dead silence. There’s something ineffably sad about a water faucet turned all the way on that is completely silent.
So the first day this happened, I figured that it was probably something that was affecting the whole neighborhood, or at least, my whole building. And when I saw my neighbor carrying buckets of water from the pump in the basement to his apartment, that seemed to be the case. I also had the folks from my office (i.e. people who speak Tajik) check, and it appeared to be a neighborhood-wide issue that would be resolved in a day or two.
But as the days passed, my water would only return intermittently. I’d check the faucet every time I got home, and if I had water, I’d run to the bathroom and do my business knowing that I could flush now. My roommate when I was studying abroad was a bit of a hippie and his saying, when it came to toilets, was: if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. That became my motto of necessity.
Then I discovered that the water pressure was a bit better early in the morning. I started getting up around 6 a.m. (I know it’s not that early for some of you, but here, that’s practically getting up yesterday), and lo and behold — water. Or, at least, a trickle of water. Enough for me to squat beneath the tap in the shower and wash up some, though there was nowhere near enough pressure to actually use the shower head. Any ill-fated attempt to do so was met with the spooky, aforementioned hissing and no water.
I discussed the problem far and wide among my expat buddies. Some were convinced that an auxillary water pump would fix the problem. Others thought I should just move out. While still others advised me to keep large jugs of water on hand for emergencies, like having a brown situation that could not be allowed to mellow, even in the absence of water.
Then, when I came home from dinner last night, I noticed that my landlord, or their agent as we say in property law circles, had been in my apartment. They had been kind enough to install a landline phone, but more importantly to the present story, the water seemed to be fixed. There was a strong, steady stream from the kitchen sink. Check. The bathroom sink worked as it should. Check. Even the shower had enough water pressure to allow for a real shower. Check.
Oddly, it appeared that small bomb exploded near the base of the toilet. It, thankfully, wasn’t anything vile I don’t think, but the mess instead seemed to be chunks of rubberized caulking from where the piping met the floor and other, indeterminate stains that I didn’t wish to overly analyze. In typical Tajik landlord fashion, nothing was cleaned up, but everything was moved. I was so relieved to have water back, though, that I joyfully scrubbed with Barf-brand cleaner regardless of the fact that the owner really should’ve handled that.
All worked according to plan this morning, even the hot water which has also been in and out, and I had a nice, long shower. Apparently, there was some sort of blockage of the pipes somewhere, or that’s the logical conclusion I drew from the circumstances of last evening. I’ll have to get one of my co-workers to call the landlord and see if we can’t pry details out of them.
Everything was so dreamy, I decided to treat myself to some real coffee. But when I went to boil water, and the coffee-in-waiting was some hand-ground Starbucks I had lugged from the US as whole beans, the power cut out repeatedly. I gave up on the coffee dream after a while; going outside of my apartment to throw the circuit breakers every 25 seconds for a cuppa was a bit much for me. I guess you can’t have everything in this life.