I’m still working on it: Bathroom on strike

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Photo by Amanda Lee

So, this is my toilet. It isn't very friendly.

By Amanda Lee, adjunct columnist ('12)

Hello everyone, here we are again- you, me, and this wonderful column that I know you’ve been dying to read. I wonder if this column is turning into a bit of a diary… it probably is–especially since all I do is write about myself. But you guys seem to enjoy it, so I’ll continue to write about what I know best–me.

There’ve been a couple noteworthy things that I’ve had happen to me this week that you’ll probably get a kick out of. First off, my entire bathroom as gone kaput. My toilet won’t flush. It bubbles up with water and then doesn’t go down. It just sits there and slowly drains of all liquid and leaves gross mushy toilet paper.

My suitemates continued to use the toilet even though it did this and now there is an excessive amount of grossness brewing in there. We can’t get it fixed until Monday, and until then we have to go down three flights of stairs in order to use the bathroom. When you have to walk (or run, depending on the urgency) up and down three flights of stairs, you really question just how badly you need to use the facilities.

The only bright spot that I can see in all of this is that we’re saving so much toilet paper by using the public restrooms. It’s something– not much, but something.

Our shower has also joined the bathroom strike. It no longer drains. We don’t have a bathtub. It’s a regular little shower with about 3 inches of depth before all the water sloshes over the edge and creates a great big puddle mess. I don’t know what the deal is, it just doesn’t drain water anymore.

So now when I take a shower I have to turn off the water and stand there freezing for five minutes or so until it drains. It doesn’t drain quickly and I got tired of waiting so I just shower as fast as possible and hope for the best. Normally I love taking showers. I’ll take a hot shower if I’m cold to warm me up, if I’m tired to help me relax, or if I just want some alone time I’ll pop in there and just relax under the water.

That’s a no-go for a while. I also don’t want to go and work out anymore because if I work out, then I’ll have to shower, and showering means that I’ll probably flood the bathroom. I’m not exactly too keen on paying the fine for that.

The only thing that seems to be functioning is our sink, and I’m eyeing it suspiciously because I feel like at any moment it’ll join the boycott . Just you wait, I’ll be writing to you next week about how I’ll have to find a way to clean myself in a public bathroom in the wee hours of the night.

When I was at home I never had so many bathroom problems in my life. Everything was functioning just fine–no major utilities ever decided to on strike. Nothing ever got clogged,  flooded, or simply gross. When I came back to the dorms from Christmas break at home, I discovered mold growing on my shower door. That was a lovely surprise. Happy Christmas, I guess.

I think that I’m discovering that cleanliness takes on a whole new meaning when you’re in college. Back home, I would do chores every day. I’d scrub, vacuum, dust, sweep, and disinfect. I owe that tidy work ethic to my mom.

Shout out to my mom: Mom, I take back every mean thing I’ve ever said of chores. How to clean was probably one of the best things you’ve ever taught me.

People in college don’t have the same standards for cleanliness like I do. I make my bed every day, I vacuum at least once a week, and I always clean up my desk. My books are organized by the days that I have them, my class folders are color-coded, and my closet is organized into sections of types of clothing. I’m organized, I’m neat, I’m CLEAN.

I keep my space and my things clean and, therefore, feel like I shouldn’t be the only one who has to clean the shared spaces (like the bathroom). If it’s not my mess, why should I clean it? I don’t think I should, so I don’t.

Look where that got me: a dysfunctional bathroom.

I’m learning that not everyone is like me. I feel like I should have learned that earlier, but I don’t think I had the epiphany until  I had to run up and down three flights of stairs over the span of 10 minutes. Because everyone isn’t like me, then I guess that means that I have to make sacrifices to accommodate my needs.

I can’t force people to clean as often as I do. So, I’ve made a compromise of sorts; I clean the things that I use after I use them if I think they’re dirty. And, after a while, when things get grimy, I gather everyone into the bathroom, I hand out the cleaning supplies and then I supervise as they clean.

It’s only fair, I think, since I’d been the[only] one cleaning.

NOTE: This column was written on March 1. As of today, March 4, the bathroom has returned to working order, and as of March 10, I am still the only one cleaning.

Cursed dorm life.