I was downstairs the other day when I heard this rumbling sound coming from the second floor. As I hopped up the stairs, the sound got louder, and when I made it up, there was a puddle of water growing outward from the bathroom door. I opened the door and the toilet was overflowing. I don’t know how or why it started to overflow right then and there, because I hadn’t used that toilet in a while, but this train of thought only lasted for five seconds, tops, because the more I stood around and thought about it, the more gross toilet water was making its way out of the toilet and into the rest of the house.
My first instinct was to grab the plunger and get right to work, which, with the toilet bowl already filled to the brim with toilet water, with the water cascading down the sides of the bowl, only made things splash around. I tried to position myself standing on my tiptoes, as if I could somehow get to work here without getting wet, but as soon as I started plunging, up and down, there were these mini tidal waves making direct contact with the front of my pants.
It wasn’t working. And that’s when I thought to turn the water off at the source, something I should have done immediately. But I only let myself contemplate my missteps for another second, second and a half, because I was standing there and my shoes were getting wet. I had to bend down to reach for the knob behind the base of the toilet, and I was really afraid that some of the toilet water was going to splash on my face, which somehow it did.
Once the water was off, the sound of rushing water went away, which gave me the false sense that my problem had been solved. This feeling of comfort didn’t last very long, as I realized that I had a huge mess on my hands. My brain was looking for some sort of quick action. Or, if not an immediate fix, at least an immediate plan, something that I could get to work on right away, a series of steps that, once executed, would make my problem go away. But I didn’t know where to start. And the growing pool of water that was escaping the bathroom made its way to the edge of the staircase, so I could hear the water start to trickle down in those little lines of very rapid drops.
There was a towel hanging next to the shower, and without really thinking it out, I just grabbed it and threw it to the ground. But the water was so much that it immediately overwhelmed my puny effort. The towel soaked through, and it hadn’t made any noticeable dent in the water level. And now what was I supposed to do with the towel? I couldn’t pick it up and put it anywhere, it would just drip all over the place. If anything, I’d only added to the mess.
I thought about paper towels, but no, I had to go down to the basement and find a mop. And then I had to mop everything up with a bucket until it was all clean. It took like two hours, total. I was just sitting there, I had other things on my mind besides mopping the floors, and then all of the sudden the toilet went bonkers and totally hijacked my day.
And just as I was going over the floors with a soapy solution, I heard the same rumbling sound coming from downstairs. I went to run, like a real life game of human whack-a-mole, to turn that water off before there was another giant mess to clean up, but the floors were still slippery from me having just mopped everything up, and so I wiped out, my feet flying out forward, the back of my head hitting the lip of the top step before my entire body slid.
And I would’ve fallen the entire flight, but right as my head made contact, my left arm instinctively shot up and grabbed on to the railing. So I was stable for a second, but only a second. With the wind knocked out of me due to the hit to my head, I started panicking, concentrating all of my strength toward my left hand on the railing. It must have been too much weight for the piece of wood bolted to the wall, because something popped out, a piece of hardware, I couldn’t be sure, and when that gave way, that’s when I fell down the rest of the stairs.
My bottom tooth had punctured the inside of my lower lip, and as I opened my eyes after realizing that I wasn’t seriously injured, I felt the dual sensation of the warm blood filling my mouth as well as a coolness at the back of my head. It was a puddle. It was coming from the bathroom. I don’t know how it got to me so quick, or maybe I’d been knocked out for a little while when my body tumbled to the ground floor.
Then there was a loud popping sound, like a burst, like a mini explosion. It was the upstairs bathroom. I definitely turned the water off, but there must have been some sort of pressure behind it, because now there was a strong current of rushing water pouring out of the bathroom, down the stairs. I was getting soaked from above and below. And I tried to twist my body into an upright position, but everything hurt pretty badly, and so I let myself just kind of sit there, the water accumulating under my head, now maybe half an inch deep.
And then I heard the doorknob turn, I realized too late that I was unfortunately positioned right by the front door. I tried to scream out, “Wait!” but she must not have heard me over all of that running water, and when the door opened, it opened right to my head, another slam. Right before I blacked out again, I could hear my wife, screaming, she was just like, “Jesus Christ, Rob, what the fuck?”