“Why does God hate me?”—Reflections on a leaky ceiling

Courtesy of Nicholas Tillinghast

This week I thought I’d fill you in on “the situation” that’s been going down in my Main triple for the past week. Generally, I’m a fan of water, but there’s been times that we haven’t really gotten along. This is one of those times. 

Day One: It all started with the beeps. The fire alarm was going off late on a Tuesday night, which isn’t an abnormal occurrence. What I quickly learned, though, was that the fire alarm crisis was entirely localized to our room, which is infinitely more upsetting than if it was happening throughout the whole building. 

Our room’s fire alarm was chirping and also dripping water, and my initial thought in this situation was, “Man, the sprinkler on this thing really sucks.” It took me a good 20 minutes of drippage to realize that there were in fact no sprinklers in our room, and that the water was just kind of seeping out for no reason. The fire alarm was consequently having a tantrum about the whole thing. I pulled out the mysterious bucket we happened to have in our room and caught a lot of the drippage, and the chirping stopped pretty soon after the fire alarm realized we weren’t gonna magically solve its problems. Soon after, the second drip spot started a few feet over on the fire alarm’s left, which we caught with an empty garbage bin. We filed a grievance with the CRC and slumbered to the sound of drippity drip.

Day Two: The rain had stopped by the morning, but that night, the ceiling did something completely unforgivable: it interrupted me during my weekly ritual of pirating watching professional hockey. Now, one could argue that what the Buffalo Sabres do on the ice isn’t professional hockey, but it was an interruption nonetheless.  

The dripping was speedier now. We called the CRC folks that night, and they were like, “Okay, we’ll send someone up.” Ten minutes later a guy knockeds on the door and we graciously let him in. He took one step in the room and looked at everything and was like, “Huh. That’s a problem. We’ll send a plumber over tomorrow.” And then he left. Was there water streaming down the wall that night? Yes. Did the Sabres win in a shootout? Yes, so really it was a pretty good night.

Day Four: The ceiling was quickly becoming impregnated with water damage. Sometimes I look at pictures from this time, and think, well, that’s not that bad. Then I remember what regular ceilings look like—they look like nothing. They’re just blank. Ceilings are supposed to just exist. They shouldn’t be anything—there’s a reason no one puts in popcorn ceilings anymore. Anyways, the plumber never showed. Meanwhile, our on-duty container count had moved up to six, including both trash cans.

Day Five: Our story was rapidly getting around the bureaucratic circles of Main Building, but it was the weekend of course, so nothing was gonna happen about it. Our container count had moved up to seven.

Day Seven: The ceiling’s water broke and layers of ceiling material were now hanging out over my dresser. It was Monday, so I called the CRC once more, and then they finally went, “Oh, okay, we’ll get this fixed.” Ten minutes later, Samuel and crew came over to the room and validated our many problems. We were saved. It was like the end of Lord of the Flies where everything’s on fire and the naval officer shows up and all the kids just start crying because they remembered that they killed Simon and he was actually pretty cool. No one died during our ceiling fiasco, though a copy of the Misc on the floor got absolutely obliterated with water over the weeklong stretch. Also, they didn’t fix anything that day, but the next day, a plumber did come to actually fix things.

That night was the last night of dripping. It was also the worst night of dripping. There’s a few random holes on our ceiling that just kind of exist and the dripping somehow shifted over to one of them. We had at this point exhausted our container supply. I had no choice but to set out my backup water bottle under the new spot as yellow water dropped in. Container count had moved up to a solid nine. Fantano would be proud.     

Epilogue: The water had ceased dripping, and the exposed parts dried up like paper mache. You kind of don’t realize what kind of “Trailer Park Boys”-esque disaster you’ve lived in for the past week until you have to clean it up. Eli and I finally dumped the liters upon liters of water in our trash bins on day 10, which had pocketed an upsettingly strong scent of eggs. The ceiling situation hasn’t been without its trauma. Whenever I’m in the bathroom now and I hear dripping, I always look up at the ceiling looking for a nonexistent leak. I asked my roommate, Eli, what he thought about the ceiling situation after the fact. “It sucks,” he told me. I asked if he could clarify at all. “It all sucks. Everything is bad.” Maybe that sums it up alright. 


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