It all started Sunday.
I was sitting at the living room table in the unit I share with three of my housemates. They’d already gone up to campus, but I was hanging back to finish some work before starting my classes for the day. While typing out my essay for my cinema course, my throat felt a little parched, and so I got up to pour myself a glass of water. Opening the cupboard, I pulled out a plastic cup (we started transitioning to those kinds because we keep dropping our ceramics/glass ones), positioned it under the tap, and turned it on, waiting for the clear, crystal cold water to come humming down.
Only instead, I got a sharp hacking sound, a sputter, and nothing. I turned it on and off, thinking that I had just imagined it, and not even a single drop came out. How am I supposed to relieve my thirst? I thought. What about the shower? The toilet?!
Upon realization that it might not just be the tap, I ran to the bathroom and tried flicking on the shower. Nothing. Then I tried flushing the toilet – and was rewarded with no water to refill the bowl back up? My mind was in disarray. My water was off! How could I wash the stress of handing in an assignment late off while singing (badly) to Adele? What if my thirst was never quenched save for the present toilet water (god forbid)? The house was probably going to spontaneously combust on me now that the water was working.
See, I’d never encountered this in my life. Back when I was living in the epitome of luxury in the suburbs back in Vaughan, I’d never had this problem. Water was always a given. I could turn on the tap or fill a tub without worrying that water might not come out of the faucet. But downtown, on my own, was a whole different story. There’d been construction on my street for a long time (thanks, Toronto) but I never anticipated this. I took a deep breath, and prepared to really ‘adult’ for the first time. Pulling out my cell phone, I quickly called my property manager and told him of the problem. He, unfortunately, was also out of the loop as to why the water was off (both of us assuming construction had botched it), and promised to get back to me ASAP. However, knowing my property manager for the past seven months already, I knew ASAP meant ‘give me a day or two to get back to you’. I had to do this myself.
So I sent off an angry (really desperate) tweet to the city of Toronto. Then, I sat down and googled possible solutions, all of which required me to not be a university student with no knowledge of where the pipe and the whatcha-call-it and the [insert gadget] is. This wasn’t going to work.
Finally, I looked at my alternate options. I could go to school smelly without brushing my teeth or cleaning my hair. I could die of thirst, potentially. Or I could make use of the marvellous facilities at one of the school gyms and hope to whatever higher power my water would be on by the time I got back home.
I chose the latter, suffering just a tad bit when a friend stopped me to say ‘Hello’ and I had to awkwardly nod and smile without opening my mouth before hurrying on my way to the Hart House Gym sanctuary. Upon finishing up, I went back home and the water was back on! After sending a quick message to my housemates (who bore the brunt of my “!?!?!?” comments) that it worked again, I was content.
Living away from home has its challenges for sure. Homesickness, cooking for yourself, making sure you lock the door, your water unexpectedly not working – these are just a few of the innumerable amount. But it also teaches you that learning how to ‘adult’ takes time. You won’t magically metamorphose into a responsible, knowledgeable, upstanding citizen after you move out. However, you learn how to adapt. You learn how to life outside of any luxuries that you wouldn’t necessarily learn commuting. I freaked out in this situation, but a few angry tweets later (did I say one earlier? Whoops) I was able to think it through and figure out what I could do. And that part, they don’t teach you in school. That part you have to learn on your own.