Big, booming claps of thunder wake me up at 5:00 am this morning, punctuated by lightning that flashes through my all-too-thin window drapes, even though it is pitch dark outside. The monsoonal rains feel as though they will crash through my bungalow roof with ease at any moment. Where is my tropical Thai Island paradise?
Wide awake, I get up to go to the bathroom, without my glasses (never a good idea) and without turning on the light so I won’t wake up Gracie.
When I realize we are out of toilet paper, I grope unsuccessfully in the dark without leaving my “seat,” for the extra roll I know is somewhere in this bathroom. I can’t find it.
Fine. I will use the bathroom sprayer thingy then. But when I grab for it, the nozzle disconnects and water starts spraying everywhere. It doesn’t take but 2 seconds to realize I now have a monsoon inside and outside my hut.
I try to shove the nozzle back on, in the dark, but can’t. It’s like trying to put a nozzle on a hose that’s on full blast. Immense volumes of spaztic water gush forth all over me and the bathroom floor, walls, door, sink.
I need to turn on the light, but I can’t reach it without letting go of the water tube and nozzle. When I do finally let go, it’s like a “Crazy Daisy” sprayer, the kind you have in your yard outside when you’re a kid.
The water tube gyrates all over the bathroom as I try to find the light switch. I use the Braille system and finally locate it far from the place where I remembered it to be.
Now I can clearly see this disaster in the making, even without my glasses. The first thing I spot is the extra roll of toilet paper, now soggy. I am so in trouble here. I contemplate turning the light back off.
Instead I hold the nozzle to the free-flowing water tube as firmly as I can. I flush the toilet thinking maybe that will make the water pressure subside and then I can just stand there flushing the toilet for the next 4 hours until Gracie wakes up and runs for help.
The toilet flushes fine but the water pressure remains the same. Down on my knees I go, one hand holding the Crazy Daisy and simultaneously trying to push the nozzle back on, water spraying me in the face and everywhere else, and the other hand feeling for a valve or a knob to turn off the water supply. None exists.
I have got to stop this flow of water somehow. If I can get the water tube to the sink or to the shower that will work. But the tube is too short to reach that far. And now the nozzle falls off completely into the toilet. I see the little black washer, which should be firmly inside the nozzle, floating in the toilet. I stand there holding the eternally-flowing water tube.
I stick the tube into the toilet bowl. This isn’t much of a solution, I think. But it does stop the water from gushing everywhere momentarily.
And then an interesting thing happens – as though everything before this hasn’t been interesting. Just before I think the toilet will overflow because the water tube is pumping an extra 500 gallons of water per minute into it, the toilet kinda self flushes.
I stand there for a moment bewildered. I check the “water security” of the bathroom. I spot a drain in the floor and a good sized lip by the door which will prevent any water from going into the other parts of the room, since I’m on my way to recreating Noah’s flood here.
I wait for the toilet bowl to re-fill and then, amazingly, it does not overflow. Ever. Even with my super-charged water tube adding to its water supply in voluminous ways.
This is a ray of hope! I watch for another 5 minutes, position the tube securely under the toilet seat and firmly inside the toilet bowl. I go back to bed and check the “situation” every 30 minutes. Unbelievably all is well.
Finally at 8 am, I go to the front desk, explaining my situation to Thai hotel staff members who speak barely a lick of English.
I say very slowly, “I have a problem with my toilet.” She looks at me quizzically. I say, “Problem. Toilet.” She tries to mouth the words back to me. She doesn’t know the word ‘problem.’
She gets another co-worker. I explain the situation by displaying vividly wild hand gestures and imitating gushing water sounds. “PSHSHSHSH!” I draw on all my thespian skills for this dramatic performance.
Her eyes get very big. Yes, she understands. They send someone immediately who turns off the water from a valve somewhere outside, then installs a brand new sprayer and hose for me.
It’s all fixed now.
Like I’m ever going to use that thing again! In the dark. Without my glasses.
Gracie’s blog: graciebrownworld.wordpress.com