How Did I Get Here?

 Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
 Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
 Into the blue again, after the money’s gone
 Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground.

It’s been a very liquid two days for me.


Well, Shit

You might not want to read this post while eating, and possibly not while you’re at work.

When it rains in NYC, it rarely fucks around – it’s either twelve hours of constant spitting, or a solid hour of ruin-your-clothes downpour. Last year around this time, a huge rainstorm knocked concrete out of an overpass, nearly killing a guy driving under it.

Yesterday, we had another substantial rainstorm. While I didn’t hear about any particular parts of the city crumbling under the wetness, there apparently were bigger problems: now we’ve got something in the water.

I realize for people outside of NYC, the thought of our municipal tap water is, well, troubling. The truth is, it’s actually quite good – a lot of money has gone into filtering and whatnot. The very famous bottled water episode of Bullshit had Penn & Teller’s crew going around Times Square with two bottles of water, one tap and one retail – the tap won out by a substantial margin. For all intents and purposes, it’s always been surprisingly good, and I’ve never had a problem drinking it prior to today.

But now, we have thrilling declarations like this from the Department of Health and Mental Hygine:

Following recent heavy rainstorms, higher than normal levels of particles have been detected in the City’s drinking water supply, which can interfere with the water chlorination process.

Particles. Oh sure, particles, those are normal…right? Wait – particles? Of what? Let’s read on:

These high levels were observed at approximately 2am today at the Hillview reservoir just north of New York City. While the affected water was diverted shortly thereafter, out of an abundance of caution, DOHMH is recommending that infants, the elderly, pregnant women and New Yorkers with conditions that compromise their immune systems– those with HIV/AIDS, especially those with CD4 counts less than 200; those with leukemia; and those who are post bone marrow transplantation – use either boiled or bottled water as a precaution for the next 24 hours (until noon Friday).

Okay, so people with weak immune systems should avoid the water for all of 24 hours. So far so good…

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has requested that doctors increase testing for parasitic illnesses and immediately report these diseases as well as any increase in gastrointestinal symptoms, especially diarrheal illness.

This is where it starts getting unpleasant. The doctors are looking out for diarrhea and/or gastrointestinal problems. I wonder what could cause those problems in people with weak immune systems…oh wait, here’s a helpful list of things to avoid!

General precautions for people with weakened immune systems to prevent diarrheal illness
– Avoid sexual practices that may result in exposure to feces.
– Avoid drinking or accidentally swallowing water from lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, pools or waterparks.
– Avoid contact with feces of all animals, particularly young farm animals such as calves.
– Always wash hands thoroughly after any contact with animals; after any contact with soil (e.g., gardening); after changing diapers, or caring for someone with diarrhea; before eating, or preparing food.

They say you learn something new every day, so here’s your lesson for today: apparently anal sex increase your risk for diarrhea. One would hope that if you were going to do something like that with someone, and they were having diarrhea-like symptoms, they would inform you before you even went down that road. That’s not the sort of surprise you want to spring on someone mid-act.

Now that we’re all past that lovely mental image, let’s piece this together: The health departments have alerted doctors to look for diarrheal symptoms, especially in people with weak immune systems. The main recommendation if you want to avoid diarrheal symptoms is to stay away from fecal matter.

One might just conclude that if they’re worried about people contracting said symptoms from said water, that said particles might just be fecal in nature.

I’m not going to lose any sleep over this, though, because even if there is fecal matter in the water supply for the next twelve hours, it doesn’t come nearly as close to the level of bullshit per liter as this water.



When I was a young boy
I wanted to sail around the world
That’s the life for me, living on the sea
Spirit of a sailor, circumnavigates the globe
The lust of a pioneer, will acknowledge
no frontier

Back when I lived in Trumansburg, between my tender years of 9 (early 1990) and 21 (mid-2002), I lived in an old house on some farm land. The house was surprisingly modern compared to the barn structures that occupied some of the remaining 19 acres of land, but it had it’s, shall we say, quirks.

One of these quirks was that directly above the kitchen was one of the two attics we had. Squarely placed above the kitchen in said attic was a window that didn’t particularly like to stay closed. The winter in the Finger Lakes region is, of course, a merciless thing, and so we’d often get pounded with snow from November through April. Systematically, snow would get into the attic, sit there in a perfectly content state until the weather warmed up, and then using the powers of thermodynamics, melt. The melted water would then realize the party was downstairs, flow through the now well-worn wooden floor of the attic, and inevitable start dripping rapidly out of the light fixtures in the kitchen.

This happening once is shocking; twice is creepy; but enough times to lose count over twelve years makes it sadly mundane.

I remember you by, thunderclap in the sky
Lightning flash, tempers flare,
`round the horn if you dare
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Lucky just to keep afloat

While in college, I found myself gathering my monetary might with nine friends to collectively rent a house senior year. The house at 133 North Quarry was pretty nice, all things considered – ten bedrooms, two kitchen plus an extra fridge, three bath. But like any house, especially in a college town, it had some “quirks”, to put it nicely.

The most notable one, at least as a one-time thing, was that when it started raining one night, we discovered a leak in the roof of the house. It was only a small leak, and ran down the wall of the person who’s bedroom it opened into on the third floor. What we weren’t expecting was that it then managed to carry on through the floor and down the bedroom wall of the person directly below them. What we weren’t expecting further still was this to occur again, leaving a trail of water going from the third floor all the way down to the first.

Aotearoa, rugged individual
glisten like a pearl
At the bottom of the world
The tyranny of distance
didn’t stop the cavalier
So why should it stop me
I’ll conquer and stay free

By this point, I think the story is kind of obvious in path, but let’s continue regardless.

Last night, around 11 PM, I’m sitting at my desk and notice a slightly repeated tapping sound coming from the bathroom. Slow, maybe once every ten seconds. I chalked it up to the heaters, which were just turned back on to accommodate the unusually cold April weather.

But in what was almost no surprise at all, when I went into the bathroom half an hour later when the click again bothered me (GET IT?!), I found a few drip points in the ceiling. Most of them were heading into the trash can, which was a hugely lucky break, but there was the larger issues. What was the cause? How can I fix it in the short term? Had someone moved my chair?

We still had some caulk kicking around the apartment, so I tried my hand with that. I have learned a number of valuable lessons from this:

  • Trying to caulk over something that’s already leaking is mostly futile.
  • Trying to caulk at the right angle of a wall while it’s leaking is even more futile.
  • Caulking a leaking right angle while wearing dark blue dress pants is a fantastic way to ruin said pants.
  • Any sort of futile experience with caulk will remove the portion of your sense of humor that finds it amusing that “caulk” sounds remarkably like “cock”.

I went to bed around midnight, mostly exhausted but also crossing my fingers that the jury rigged buckets, towels, and badly applied caulk would hold long enough to get to the morning when I could alert the landlords as to the problem.

Ah c’mon all you lads
lets forget and forgive
There’s a world to explore
tales to tell back on shore
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Six months in a leaky boat

Luckily enough, it did hold for the most part. Sadly, new leak points developed elsewhere – not strong enough of a leak to flood anything, but enough to give the room that lovely faint smell of leaking water.

After failing to get in touch with the daughter of the landlords – who speaks perfect English and is usually our go-to on issues with the apartment – I went to the landlords directly and hit our standard language gap. English is limited to “problem”, “sorry”, “they come”, and “okay” and similar one word directives; most of the Spanish is too quick for me to run a base-level comprehension on; the common ground is gesturing and confused looks. Eventually I lead them to the apartment and showed them the problem, but they in fact already sort of knew; the leak appears to be on the second floor of the house, which means it would’ve dripped through them as well.
In the time it’s taken me to bat out this post, I’ve heard the repeated banging on pipes, and my checking every 15 minutes has showed at this point, the leaking appears to have stopped. I would imagine I’ll have to leave the pots out for the rest of the day, just in case. Katie’s going to come home early to check it all so I don’t have to burn all my personal hours today.

The real problem now is that every little crack and creak I hear, my gaze immediately shifts as I hunt feverishly to make sure there’s no new leak, especially not in any of the main rooms. Keep your fingers crossed for Buttons that he can keep this place together while I’m at work.

Ship-wrecked love can be cruel
Don’t be fooled by her kind
There’s a wind in my sails
Will protect and prevail
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Nothing to it leaky boat.

P.S. Sixx Mixx 84 – Lowering The Barriers Of Individuality And Personality To Liberate You From The Burden Of Consciousness Edition is out.