Thursday, January 15, 2009

Faulty Plumbing

I have been having some serious plumbing problems at my place. I live in the oldest rowhouse in a street lined with very old rowhouses, million dollar renovated condos, and government subsidized housing in quite possibly one of the most gentrified and simultaneously crime-ridden neighborhoods in all of Washington, D.C. It's been quite an adventure--and one that I've taken up with great gusto. Truly, walking from home to work everyday while enduring cat calls and "hola chica's", reading all the crime and incident reports of brothels and shootings, and seeing abject homelessness everyday hasn't taken that much of a toll on me, considering I was just half a year ago living in the calmest suburb in all of Wildomar, California. But what has become truly intolerable has been this: my clogged bathtub, which, after several days of remaining clogged, suddenly began spewing the most heinous primordial sewer water I've ever seen. What this is I do not know, but surely it was produced out of the deepest bowels of Hades.I tried to keep the photo small so you wouldn't have to see the nastiness of it in all it's glory. My tub has looked this way for the past four days now, forcing me to go to the gym in the mornings and shower before work. That's actually been very good for me, since I'm training to run the Cherry Blossom 10-mile run, but regardless, I am absolutely pissed that I have to deal with all this nonsense right now, particularly when I pay rent to live here and it is not liveable! Furthermore, my landlord is giving me trouble about paying a plumber to fix the problem, claiming that it's a tenant caused issue. I assure you sir, my body could not possibly produce the filth that you see here filling my tub.

It made me think about people who might not be able to fight for themselves in these kinds of situations. You wouldn't believe how horrible I feel right now because I am afraid that I'm being taken advantage of, and when my landlord started to refuse to pay to fix the plumbing problem, I just about wanted to kill somebody. But I was able to articulate my case: that I had been using a drain stop from day one, that I was paying good money to live here and that it was the landlord's responsibility to fix this or I would automatically deduct the costs I incurred from my rent.

While working at the social justice magazine, I've heard a lot about speaking for those who might not be able to speak for themselves. This is such a necessary form of aid for so many different situations. I'm often reminded of this when I see Nicholas Kristof's fantastic op-ed's in the New York Times, especially when he focuses on one individual who is suffering from larger systemic forms of injustice. Giving the brothel worker a platform to share their story to all the hundreds of thousands of people who read the New York Times is an incredible gift, something I hope to be able to do one day through my work .... if on a slightly smaller scale :)
But more on that another day. For now, here are some photos of where I take solace while simultaneously ignoring my bathroom problems: my desk and bed!
I think I will just hide here and hope no kind of swampy creature emerges from my tub. Please pray for a miracle!


  1. You have rights! Don't get taken advantage of!

  2. we will right this wrong, jeans.