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LIFE BY LOUIS: Water shortage left me soapy and stranded…



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The government should consider recognising all the citizens who live in bed sitters with a Certificate of Perseverance and awards of Grand Warriors.

One of my biggest nightmares during my stay in the bedsitter was the use of the shared bathrooms. My fears came from a real experience one bright Sunday morning.

I had been requested to attend a party whose invite read the venue to be in the leafier suburbs of the city where domestic servants walk white dogs and thoroughbred horses in the morning along the paved walkways.

I decided to shave my armpits because the kind of party I was going to attend may terminate at the swimming pool. If that happened, I did not want to be the one to bring the party to a premature end by scaring the patrons away with my bushy vegetation around the armpit and chest regions.

I presented myself to the shared bathroom and proceeded to lather myself and commenced the deforestation of the armpits and the surrounding protected hinterlands.

Life was playing out well, the razor was as sharp as my thoughts and I whistled a happy tune as I wondered just how my life had suddenly turned out so well.

Finally, it was time to rinse myself and admire the work of my hands. I turned on the tap and it gave out one apologetic hiss.

I woke up to the realisation that I was dealing with a dire situation. Hair seemed to be everywhere and my efforts to clean up were yielding no fruits.

There was a contingency bucket full of water in the bathroom that was probably reserved for such emergencies. I depleted it in a minute of desperate frenzy trying to tidy things up, but the more I tried the more things seemed to remain the same.

There were in my conservative estimate, about one billion pieces of hair spread liberally in various locations within the bathroom.

The white tiles looked like the work of a mad artist doodling in hair and fur. The soap was caked in a layer of brownish fur from my armpits.

The drainage was nearly completely blocked by a big ball of black hair from a different body location.

The hand towel was matted in black, and the entire place looked like a busy barber shop that had just experienced severe flooding.

My mind was working on overdrive trying to figure out who could rescue me from this situation. Where were my boys when I truly needed them?

I peeped through the cracks of the wooden door to see if anyone was passing by who could be compassionate enough to rescue me from this situation. All I needed was an extra bucketful of water.

No one was visible for the next five minutes or so, and the soap was beginning to dry on my skin.

A big lump of pride in my throat was preventing me from calling out for help as the next bedsitter was only a few metres away from the bathroom and I knew the occupants were present.

Eventually, I swallowed the hard lump and called out to no one in particular.

A rotund woman responded. It could as well have been anyone; this was no time to be choosy.

“What is the problem?” she enquired loudly through the door crack.

“It is water,” I lowered my voice as my dignity exited my body with those three words.

“Bring that bucket”, she commanded albeit with an understanding voice.

There was one last hurdle before I emerged out of this situation. I was still unclothed and soapy, and I had to figure out a way of handing out the bucket safely without giving the benevolent lady a heart attack with a scene straight out of Halloween.

I lurked behind the door and curved out my hand that was holding the bucket. I was probably applying the mathematics I had learned in school about the hypotenuse.

The bucket soon retuned via the same path, only this time it was full to the brim. Never before had a bucket full of water given me so much joy.

I thanked her profusely as she walked away like a person who did that kind of philanthropic act quite often.

I commenced the delicate housekeeping exercise. After several strategies that are the envy of the Water Ministry, I managed to do a reasonably decent job.

As I walked out trying to hold up my head in the last desperate move to redeem my dignity, I glanced up at the bright sun and realised with a jolt that I had been in that jinxed bathroom for more than an hour.

I finally managed to attend the party that was the genesis of my misery. It turned out to be a horrendously boring network marketing forum in a downtown hotel.

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