Mar 25

Warning: The following blog contains graphic information about the state of the leak under my bathroom sink and may not be suitable to small children. It may also not be suitable to teenagers, the elderly, newborns, and especially people who are living at high altitudes (since this leak took place at my fourth floor apartment). Please do not read this blog if you have recently experienced a leak of your own, or if you and your mate are undecided regarding the prospect of one day having a leak of your own. This blog is not meant for the faint of heart, faint of stomach, or anybody who has just fainted.

Dear Readers,

My name is Troi, and I have a leak. (“Hi, Troi.”) The location of my leak is under my bathroom sink. Like you, I experienced the melange of expected emotions as I peered underneath the bathroom sink one evening. Below is my journey through this tumultuous time.

There is no leak. There is another reason that the bathroom items in my cupboard beneath the sink are soggy. I will place this single Bounty paper towel on the floor of the cupboard, which will soak up this sea of water. I will then close the cupboard door, removing all evidence of that which I just witnessed.

When I can no longer go without the items under the cupboard, I am forced to reopen the doors. I am angry that my items have been reduced to soggy shadows of their original selves. (Is that a roll of toilet paper, or a can of hairspray? I can’t even tell.) I finally give in, and fill out a work order at the apartment office downstairs. I return to my apartment to find black goo creeping up out of the sink drain.

“Go away, black goo,” I negotiate gently but firmly with my assailing sludge. “If you go away, I will start cleaning the sink every week. Maybe even the whole apartment!” My sludge doesn’t leave, and I am only distracted from it by the water seeping steadily but swiftly from the cupboard underneath the sink to my bathroom floor.

I come home from work to a receipt alleging that my sink leak has been fixed. I celebrate by turning on the faucet to brush my teeth (as celebrations are best undertaken with clean teeth and fresh bresh), and water surges down the drain, gurgles, and starts spraying the inside of the cupboard, and all of my newly purchased bathroom items, with more fervor than ever before. I HAVE BEEN DECEIVED. This is very depressing.

I will live a life of waterlogged solitude with my new friend, Black Goo.

–Troi out

**After Troi moved out and became a squatter in the apartment stairwell, the workers returned to her apartment and fixed the leak. She asks that you send any (stair)well wishes to her at the intersection between the 3rd and 4th floor stairways.

Mar 4

Dear Readers,

Perhaps you’ve heard that we’re in a recession. As a professional who works at a school, I can educate you on the meaning of recession; since “recess” is a time of play, and “ion” is a positively-charged atom, quite obviously a recession is a time when people can more positively engage in playtime activities, since they’ve all lost their jobs.

The recession is being felt across the nation, from the airlines, to the oceans, where shark attacks worldwide in 2008 decreased to their lowest level in five years (Really! I couldn’t make up stuff like this!), suggesting that Americans are forgoing trips to the beach in favor of watching beach scenery on their computer screen savers, which is cheaper and carries less risk of limb loss.

But nowhere is the recession felt more than at Portland’s local Dollar Tree, where I went yesterday to stock up on motivational prizes for my students.

The items I’ve purchased during past Dollar Tree excursions (where I go on vacation in lieu of the beach to avoid shark attacks) haven’t exactly been of Toys-R-Us caliber. They’re generally what I call “quasi-crap,” which is 1-3 steps above being actual crap. However, they’ve always been disguised as decent prizes. The box of magic tricks boasts flashy images on the outer cover, and it is not until students open the box long after leaving my room that they discover several nondescript misshapen pieces of plastic along with instructions that are only in Chinese.

But on this trip, I couldn’t even find the facade of a passable prize. On this trip, it was evident that the recession has turned the Dollar Tree into the Dollar Sapling. I found light-up yo-yo’s that didn’t light up; matchbox cars with only three wheels, and even the candy had expired in the early 1980s.

Yet after six weeks of promising my students that I would buy them prizes “tomorrow” (which has now created a lifetime of semantic confusion for my students with autism who take me literally), I had no choice but to purchase the shoddy items. I would even have to pretend that they were cool.

As my students chose their prizes today, it was clear they weren’t fooled.

Anonymous student: “Really? This is it?? Where are the good prizes?”
Me: “Gee, whatever do you mean?! These High School Musical erasers look positively perfect! Or how about this Hannah Montana mechanical pencil?! Or, I know! This regulation-size, yet non-aerodynamic flimsy foam frisbee looks to be just the thing!!”

My students’ reactions were akin to a shark attack, the kind that took place prior to 2008 when people could still afford to take vacations to the coast.

I like playing positively, but this recession has just got to stop.

–Troi out