Water, Water Everywhere--Darn It!

by Tina Blue
December 20, 2002

          Did you know that one of the leading causes of flooding is deafness?

          Well, at least that is the case in my apartment.

          The thing is, I can't hear water running unless I am right next to the sink or bathtub it is running into.  Now, I am a very busy person.  I work pretty much all the time, so I always have something I need to get done.  I am also a very absent-minded person, not because I have a bad memory (actually, I have a great memory), but because I have so many things I need to do all the time that I am easily distracted.

          I am so busy that I simply cannot afford to stand around and wait for a sink to fill with dishwater, or for a tub to fill with bathwater.

          And yet I do need to wash dishes and take baths.

          So I do what anyone would do.  I start the dishwater or the bathwater running, and then I do this or that little odd job.  Or the telephone rings.  Or I pick up the newspaper to get that read while I have a minute free to do so.

          But after I get that water running, I have to be careful not to start doing anything else that might be too engrossing or that might take more than a few minutes to complete.  If I do, I will forget all about that running water, and since I cannot hear it, even if I am in the very next room, I won't have anything to remind me or call my attention to the fact that there is water running somewhere in the house.

          Last week, I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when my son dropped by for a quick hello on his way to class.  The minute he walked in the door he asked, "Do you have bathwater running?"

          Of course I had bathwater running.  I had been running it for over an hour!

          My tub fills in ten minutes.

          And of course, that extra fifty-minutes' worth of water was nearly an inch deep in my bathroom.

          Now, if the upper drain in my tub worked properly, I wouldn't get flooded like that just because I forgot to turn off the water.  But as far as I can tell, the upper drain doesn't work at all.  There is nothing slowing down the floodwaters when I forget to turn off the faucet. 

          Okay, maybe I would get flooded anyway, even if my upper drain worked, but the flooding wouldn't start the minute the tub got full.  It would take a few minutes at least to overwhelm the draining capacity of that upper drain.  Sometimes I am only a few minutes late getting to the tub, but it doesn't matter.  By the time I get there, the floodwaters have already begun to cover the floor.

          I go through a lot of towels mopping up every time I flood the bathroom

          Less often, but still far too often for my taste, I flood the kitchen sink.  I turn the water on and then I go into the living room (which is right next to the kitchen!) to sit down and grade a paper or read a section of the newspaper.  And then I forget about that stupid sink.  Eventually, I will be drawn into the kitchen again, either to refill my coffee mug or to quiet a demanding cat by feeding her.  And when I do--AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!  The water is all over the counters, all over the floor.  And out come the towels again.

Maybe this doesn't happen to everyone with a severe hearing impairment.  Some people probably stay relatively close to the bathtub or kitchen sink while running water.  Some people have working upper drains in their bathtubs.  Some people live with family, so they have people with functioning ears to remind them that they have water running.  Me, I have to hope someone with normal hearing drops by at an auspicious moment.  An hour after I start running the bathwater isn't auspicious enough (though it's better than, say, two hours after I start the bath running).

          I know it's a silly fantasy--at least for someone with ears like mine--but can you imagine how neat it would be to possess that magical power people like my son have--you know, the ability to hear water running from more than a few feet away.

          Such miracle ears would have come in handy this morning when I got off the phone after a long conversation with a friend and went in to the bathroom--only to be reminded in a very wet way that I had started the water running several minutes before that phone rang.

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