Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm on the top floor.

This problem happens in my building where when the steam heat comes hissing on, the hot water disappears. I don't mean the water isn't hot. I mean the water isn't there. If you turn on the hot water, at some point it will dribble into nothingness, just for a moment, then slowly come back on. This problem only really annoys when I'm in the shower. Management knows about it, and are working on it. But when I was ready to take a shower last night around 2am, there was no hot water. The heat had cycled off, and the water was not coming back. After some time, I heard fire engines. Not an uncommon sound around here. Then I heard banging. The firemen were on the sidewalk trying to get in the front door of the building. I put on my coat to go down and let them in so they wouldn't break the door. I didn't think there was actually a fire. Still, I thought about what to bring with me in case I wasn't allowed back in for some reason. I decided on nothing, and went out into the stairway. No sign of fire. Once I approached the third floor, I saw an agitated man who exclaimed some dire sounding words about his apartment. It rained from his ceiling, and his home rested in about three inches of water. While I was escorting firemen to the above apartments, letting them know they were vacant and being renovated, word came up that they turned off the water, and the flood would stop once the water ran out of the lines. I knew this was bullshit. As they left, they told my neighbor to call the super. I could tell through the man's broken english he had know idea who to call, so I went back up to make the call myself, and fill every vessel I could with the still working cold water. I wasn't sure the super knew my call wasn't a dream, but he showed up, and turned off the water to that part of the building. I showed him where all the burst pipes were in all three apartments above. I think the heat problem drained the hot water from the pipes, they froze in the coldest night of the year, and once the hot water rushed back in, burst in three or four places. The pressure was so great, the water drilled a hole in the newly installed drywall. Once the super informed me that the windows were left open in those apartments, I think my theory was proven. Some of the windows were actually missing altogether. I didn't know what else I could do for this neighbor. I hate that his home was so badly damaged because of the negligence of others. I took a shower and read about the attack on the US base in Iraq where insurgents, disguised as american soldiers, got past checkpoints, and took four real US soldiers hostage only to drive them 25 miles away and shoot them in the head.


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