23 March 2010

That Sinking Feeling

After going with a friend to the Monday night meditation at Ariyasom Villas and eating a divine Arab meal at Petra afterward, I came home around 11 and crashed. Around 4:45 a.m. this morning I suddenly awoke to loud sounds of gushing water. It took barely a minute to realize the source was a ferociously strong jet of water gushing out from under the sink and spraying across the living room with fire hose intensity!

Yesterday the building handyman replaced the kitchen sink faucet. When he went to shut off the main water valve in the corridor he discovered it doesn't completely shut off the flow of water. While changing the faucet, he noticed a slightly cracked plastic joint nut in the pipe under the kitchen sink. He changed the reinforced rubbery connector hose (with nuts on either end). The plywood cupboard floor got wet during the process and I'd left the cupboard doors open overnight open to dry it out. Apparently the handyman's cobbled together pipe repair weakened other joints and allowed the water pressure to burst through.

My tiny place has an L-shaped "kitchen" area consisting of the sink unit in the short part of the L. It creates a small divide between the living room and the tiled indoor balcony/dining area. The long part of the L is a counter top and waist-high cupboards running along part of one wall in the living room. End to end, the living room is just long enough for the three forward lunges in the final part of the 7-star form I started learning with Sifu H in March 2009 and continue to practice every morning.

All the floors are parquet except for the 1.5-meter wide tiled indoor "balcony" that runs horizontally along the windows fronting on the river. It creates the minuscule dining space, bathroom and bedroom plant area. The floors are as old as the apartment or at least my landlord's ownership of it. I've been here 12 years and he lived here before that. Sunlight streams in through huge windows all day and over the years the varnish has starting wearing off.

I raced out to the corridor and shut off the water valve except, as I'd discovered yesterday, that didn't entirely cut off the flow. Yesterday this was a minor inconvenience, but today it was a major one because even though the jet of water no longer sprayed across the room, water still streamed inside the plywood sink unit.

I started mopping up the puddles of water that ran from the sink across the living room to a small cabinet with a Bose CD player and phone/fax machine atop it. Fortunately they didn't seem too wet and I put them on the dining table to dry. Meanwhile water continued to run out from under the sink unit and onto the parquet floor. I tried stuffing the cracks with two chamois-like cloths and ran downstairs to get the guard to wake up the handyman.

Unlike their counterparts at snazzier buildings, the guards at Thai Sathit Condo aren't hired to actually do anything, especially in an emergency situation at 5 a.m. This guy was entirely too kreng jai to knock on the handyman's door. I tried knocking myself, yelling (politely) and phoning his mobile, all to no avail.

Back upstairs, I ran back and forth between the still-leaking sink area and the rest of the living room to gather soaked cushion covers, CDs etc. and spread them out on the outdoor planter boxes. This took until around 5:30 a.m. For the next two hours I stayed on my hands and knees next to the cupboard wringing out those pseudo chamois every couple of minutes. Finally at 7:30 the very sleepy handyman turned up. He removed the patchwork of pipe joints and replaced them with a single new connection.

I give so much background information because my responses to this predawn drama were 180° from how I would have reacted pre-Qigong. I'd have spewed out as much anger on all concerned as that split joint gushed water. I'd have screamed at the guard for being a useless git and at the handyman for being incompetent. (O.K., I did get pretty annoyed at him but nowhere near as dramatically as before.) I'd have stayed angry and tense for days and bent everyone's ears with "poor me" stories.

Instead, I wrote a list of gratitudes:

•  I'm very grateful the pipe joint burst while I was home. Given the amount of water released in barely five minutes, apartment and the one below would have been completely flooded had I not been there to turn off the valve..

•  I'm very grateful I woke up so fast and stopped the jet of water spurting across the room before any real damage occurred to books or electronic gear.

•  I'm very grateful the handyman lives in the building and dragged himself up to my place long before his usual 10 a.m. starting time. (I was fully prepared to keep wringing out the cloths until whenever he appear.)

•  I'm very grateful I live in a hot climate so everything dried off quickly.

•  I'm very grateful that the breezes that sometimes blow on the river blew today so I could stay home in relative comfort despite the 32° temperature and ensure everything dried out.

•  I'm very grateful I'm grateful instead of angry. Gratitude makes situations flow much more easily!

•  I'm very grateful Sifu H and the Qigong practice is teaching me to let go of my attachment to perfection. The floor wasn't perfect before the brief flood and it's even less so now. Achieving perfection in all things is no longer the guiding principle of my life.

•  I'm very grateful I had nothing planned for today because I'm utterly exhausted from the pre-dawn waterworks.

1 comment:

M Bang said...

I am very grateful for your post! It is 4 am and I am laughing and enjoying your writing. That's a lot for me to be grateful for! :-)