I’d assumed the main problem I was going to have at university was my art teachers not liking my paintings. You see art teachers have an ability to reveal weaknesses in your work that take you by surprise. One moment everything’s fine, and the next, the world comes crashing down on you. This time however, the ceiling beat them to it…
Sometimes Chicken Little knows what he’s talking about.– Mr Moseby, Zac&Cody
At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little…”THE SKY IS FALLING.”
This also happened to be on the one night I decided to stay out late. I’m not a party person so Fresher’s Week is something I artfully avoided for the most part. But this one night was for the people on my course. You know the usual chit-chat get-to-know-you kind of thing. “Well why not go?” Says my naïve young self. “What could possible go wrong?”. A lot, my dear past Emily. One heck of a lot.
So, I walked into my room at the end of the evening to throw my bag down before getting a drink. I’m about to stroll on my merry way, the anticipation of the hot chocolate I’m about to make so palpable I can already taste it. But then I pause… what’s that noise? I think. And then, ladies and gentlemen, I look up. Why, oh why did I look up? For you see this noise belongs to the sound of drip, drip, dripping. Or as I like to call it. The start of the decline.
I turn the light on. And what I see freezes my blood faster than the sight of a spider in the bathtub. It is more terrifying than turning on my phone to discover I only have 13% battery. It is the sight of a cracking, bowing, ready to burst ceiling.
Well I ran out of there so fast I left my dignity, sanity and skid marks on the floor. I ran into the kitchen flapping my arms around and screamed “DOES ANYONE HAVE THE MAINTENANCE NUMBER BECAUSE MY CEILING IS FALLING IN AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.”
To which my flats mates answered, “Wow, that sounds bad.”
Oh, no good sir. Bad is the sight of one cookie left in the jar. Bad is the Wi-Fi taking more than 10 seconds to load a webpage. This is a disaster!
I Usain Bolted it down to reception, flapped my arms around some more and explained the situation to the receptionist. Unfortunately, it’s hard to spur people into action during the night shift and the response I received was less enthusiastic than I’d hoped. “Well we’d rather not move you until tomorrow.” They said. Yes, and I’d rather not take a shower on my bed so I guess one of us is going to be disappointed.
It’s fair to say that the maintenance man didn’t believe my (somewhat dramatic) rendition of the situation. He took a slow pace when walking back to my room, despite my attempts to hurry him along. I’m sure he was rehearsing his smug, “What are you talking about? This isn’t a problem.” Speech.
Well I showed him.
The actual words he uttered when he saw my room are unprintable but he was moving significantly faster afterwards. I especially enjoyed it when I was told, “You might need to stay in a different room for the night.” You don’t say?
Au contraire, I enjoy sleeping in damp bedding. I haven’t been able to get out much recently so when the upstairs neighbour falls through the ceiling I think I’ll quite enjoy the company. The more the merrier as they say.
Of course, I’m going to need another room. Do you think I’m just showing you this for fun?
So, I packed up the essentials (my laptop, IPad, and microwavable pasta) and hauled myself to another building across campus. My new room came with a TV! But no batteries in the remote for some reason, which personally I think is a bit cheap. Not as cheap as forgetting to seal the upstairs shower. But cheap none the less.
Anyway, I flopped into bed hoping for a good night’s sleep after such an eventful day…
I was to be disappointed. The night shift in the halls management office had decided that this would be the perfect night to do a fire drill. Which meant that I was unceremoniously dragged out of bed at 7am….. Outside the building, waiting to be allowed back in, I began to wonder which deity I’d offended.
Later that day I headed back to my broken room for more stuff. (Clothes, sketchbooks, and more microwavable pasta).
Now, I thought I had a pretty good idea how bad the situation was. But then I met with the builders… and oh no honey, it was MUCH worse than I thought.
The entire left side of the ceiling was bowing in and there was a ‘T’ shaped crack running the width and length of the room. I walked in to find two builders staring at it in amazement. It never fills you with confidence when the experts just say, “Well, how the hell did that happen?”
So apparently, the shower in the room upstairs hadn’t been properly sealed which meant that the water had ran underneath the shower unit and into my ceiling. On the night in question, too much water had been collected causing the ceiling to bend and break which meant a week’s worth of shower water came pouring through into my room.
Despite the obvious devastation, for some reason the builders seemed reluctant to tell me I’d have to move out of my room. As though I could have developed an unbreakable bond with the pile of rubble on my floor. “Unfortunately, the whole ceiling would have to be redone.” You’re kidding? Really? Surely, a bit of tape and glue could fix it. “The wooden beams were also warped by the water so they will need replacing.” Is it necessary? They only support the structural integrity of the ceiling after all. “So, you may have to consider moving out…” Consi- consider? Dude I’m already halfway out the door. Just let me grab my shampoo.
You can therefore, imagine my surprise when three days later I’m told that everything’s been fixed and that I can go back into my old room. Hmmmm… that seemed unlikely. I decide to test the truth of this myself and low and behold, there was a hole in the ceiling, with water pouring through. Well I hopped on the nope-train to screw-that-ville and demanded a new permanent room.
I wasn’t able to stay in my second room because the university had offered it out to another student despite it being occupied. Well. Thanks. So. Much. Really very helpful. Top marks for that one folks.
The rest of the story is mostly administrative details but I was given a new room by the end of the week.
So, that’s the story of how I ended up in 3 uni rooms in just as many weeks.
On the first week of university I was worried that the painting teachers wouldn’t like my work and that it was going to be a huge problem. By the third week of university, I prayed that teachers not liking my paintings would be the only problem I had.