Water Curse

July 12, 2007 at 11:16 am (Uncategorized)

I have long suspected that one of my ancestors denied a drink to a thirsty obeah woman, who then put a water curse on our family.

The house where I used to live is located above an underground stream. Severe rainstorms were a constant source of worry because I never knew if I was going to come home to find my belongings floating out the door. The sewer backed up so many times in that tiny basement apartment that I had to elevate everything I cherished at least 2 feet off the floor. It’s amazing that I never contracted cholera.

Elevating my belongings proved useless, however, when the ceiling caved in above the kitchen table. I lost about 80% of my dissertation bibliography. Ten years of gathering books and articles literally down the drain. (I also lost my signed copy of Garth Nix’s Sabriel. That hurts more).

I thought, once I moved to a real apartment building, that my water troubles would be over. Clearly this is a curse with legs. Two weeks ago I came home to find the ceiling above my toilet bowed and dripping. I called the super. (How nice to have a super to fix things rather than having to muddle through on one’s own!) He looked at the celing, exclaimed, “Ai Dios mio,” poked the bubbling plaster with a broom handle, and released a spray of what I can only imagine was my neighbor’s toilet water. He then asked me if I owned a bucket.

For the next three days using the toilet became a chancy and anxiety-filled exercise. I was always worried that something would drip on my head while I was answering nature’s call. I knew my neighbor worked nights; so I tried to use the bathroom only when he was not home. A week later, the leak was fixed, although there’s still a creepy hole in the ceiling. Now I’m paranoid that I’ll end up on a “Caught on Tape: Landlord Peeping Toms” episode of Maury.

This morning I discovered that the ceiling above my tub has given way. There’s a bow, a bubble, dripping plaster, and the constant hiss of water running somewhere. I think I can even see the underside of my neighbor’s tub.

Oh, obeah woman, please relent! There is no one in the world that loves and appreciates indoor plumbing more than I. The bathroom is my favorite room in the house to clean. I fill it with sweet smelling soaps and shampoos. I adorn it with fish-themed shower curtains and candy-colored sponges. I always change the toilet paper roll. What animal must I sacrifice to lift this curse? I’ll eat anything you want me to eat, I’ll swallow anything you want me to swallow. I’ll chew on a dog!

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1 Comment

  1. Ten Feet of Steel said,

    If it makes you feel any better, it sounds like the neighbor’s toilet is not overflowing into your bathroom.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like a pipe under his/her floor is leaking.

    This happened to me the first year I lived in my place. My super came in, tapped on my kitchen ceiling with a broom, and A THIRD OF MY KITCHEN CEILING CAME DOWN, along with a cascade of water voluminous enough to cover my entire kitchen floor in a half inch of water.

    It took a week for them to fix it, and I got to watch my upstairs neighbors puttering around their kitchen until they did.

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