Three years ago today, I woke up in my university apartment to what sounded like one of my roommates in the shower. Surprising, since it was eight in the morning. The only reason I was awake was because I had class and like me, all three of my apartment mates could be mistaken for hibernating bears before noon. We hid in the cave of our hoodies and comforters until noon unless roused by intruders or lured out by a really delicious smelling adventure.
Still, it was the first day of class for the spring semester. I didn’t know their schedules yet. It was possible that one of them had been dragged out by the threat of professors glaring at you for being late on the first day.
In all likelihood, I wasn’t awake enough to have thought all that through, but in hindsight, that’s the reasoning I like to run through. In reality I probably thought something like, “Hate. Alarm. Shower? Weird. Where are my pants?” I got ready for class, slowly, then headed downstairs to make the six and a half minute walk to campus.
And found water rattling from the ceiling, contributing to the lake forming in our living room, already three-inches deep.
If you’re wondering what a hibernating bear does when she finds her apartment flooding, she stares. For about fifteen seconds. That’s long enough for her to notice that this is definitely not normal, that The Truculent Wonder ‘s favorite puzzle that had been on the table right under the leak will never be solvable again, and that E-Squared left her laptop downstairs the night before. Then she picks up the laptop to get it out of the water, doesn’t realize how stupid an idea that is until she gets a sturdy shock from the power cord. Then she runs back up the stairs, wondering if this is the type of thing that requires her to wake up the roommates.
I ran back to my room and pulled out my student handbook to find the emergency maintenance phone number. We’d used it before, so I knew it existed, but I wasn’t even sure that I knew where to find it.
Bek looked at me from her bed on the other side of the room.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
I responded with all the grace of a sleepy person in a disaster. Which is to say that I got the necessary information across, probably in a sharp, strange way, and I don’t remember a word of it. E-Squared heard enough through the wall to poke her head out of her room. The Truculent Wonder slept on (as she did in every disaster that struck during our college career).
We called maintenance. We pulled the breaker to turn off the electricity downstairs. There was nothing else to do but wait for someone to show up, so I left for class.
When I arrived, I was the first student there. No surprise. There were only two of us signed up for the class, and the guy who was signed up with me was sure he was going to take the class, just wasn’t sure that he could make it at it’s current time slot. Oh the joys of going to a small college, where classes stay open for two students and professors are happy to move a class out of the first slot of the morning. I took a seat and smiled at the professor.
“Have a good break?” he asked.
A silent moment. My professor drummed on the table, looking toward the door for my classmate.
“Having a good morning?” he asked when he turned back.
I hesitated. “My apartment is flooding.”
“Oh,” he said. I remember that one syllable and his expression very clearly. He looked stunned, unsure how he was supposed to respond, pretty certain that I wasn’t joking, and then half-hopeful that I was.
I shrugged. “Yeah,” I said. “Other than that, it’s good.”
We talked for about another fifteen minutes before we decided that my classmate wasn’t going to show and that we would call class off for the day. During that time, I woke up enough to shed my hibernating skin and to realize that yes, that was exactly the type of situation where I should wake up the roommates.
I laughed at myself all the way back to the apartment.
It has been three years. I’m still laughing, and now we have another holiday, falling right after Groundhog Day, and carrying an impressive amount of pomp. Every February third, my three roommates and I look up toward the ceiling to search for indoor weather phenomena. If it is raining in the living room, we celebrate by skipping all classes that start after we are evacuated from our residence and eating at IHOP. If it is not raining, we just plain celebrate.
Happy It’s NOT Raining In the Living Room Day!