There’s a new boy in the house who is about 19, very sweet, very green and very 19. Sometimes, there are so many different people of different ages in the house, all doing the same sort of work, it’s easy to forget how old people really are and what that might actually mean. We’ll call the new boy Herbert. Ooh, or Herbie? I like that better. Okay so on Herbie’s third or fourth night in the house a few of us decide to buy some bottles of wine (read: cardboard containers of wine called “Gato” ) and have a few drinks on the roof. Sidenote: we’re not allowed to drink in the voluntario house. So the way we circumvent this rule is to drink on the roof of the classroom building, two feet from the house. We’ve never specifically been told not to drink there, but let’s face it, it’s probably even worse to be drinking where we teach, and I think we all know we really shouldn’t be up there.
So, with that in mind, we head up to the roof and have a bunch of cartons of wine. Herbie is starting to slur a little bit, but big deal, I think. We’re two feet from home. Let him slur. Most of the others leave about1am. I stay with Herbie and another voluntario who we’ll call John. Herbie goes to the classroom to go to the bathroom. He returns. One minute later he gets up to go to the bathroom again. Shortly thereafter we hear a loud crash, like something shattering. I guess we should check on him. I let John go ahead of me. I stand aside, wanting to give Herbie privacy if he needs it. John opens the bathroom door and just stares in disbelief.
-What is it? What’s going on?
-Herbie! What the f___ is going on in here? Herbie. Jesus!
I peak into the bathroom and there is Herbie. A tallish, skinny, lanky, effeminate boy of 19, standing in the middle of the bathroom surrounded by shattered ceramic, bleeding profusely from his foot, and trying unsuccessfully to stop the high powered stream of water that is shooting out of the wall and all over him/the bathroom. John just stands there, frozen.
– Well don’t just stand there! Help me!
The bathroom’s not big and there are already a few inches of water on the floor. I push past them and start crawling around looking for the knob to turn the water off. There isn’t one. Why does every damn thing have to be different here? I crawl around on the floor, intermittently being shot in the face with toilet water, as Herbie and the John shout unhelpful suggestions from outside. Great. Thanks for the help dudes. This is totally how I envisioned my night going. We eventually locate the off switch.
– Herbie, go home and deal with your foot and go to sleep. John and I will stay here and clean up.
John’s not pleased. So what I’ve gathered from the forensics here, is that Herbie got sick, found that the toilet did not flush for whatever reason and so he proceeded to remove the lid off the tank to fix it. He drops the lid and it shatters, stabbing him in the foot. That much is crystal clear. What is not quite so clear is how or why he managed to rip the pipe connecting the toilet to the water source completely out of the wall. Like, it’s not just disconnected, it’s ripped out. Broken. Awesome. Perfect. So now we have a toilet full of vomit, with no water in the tank, or water source with which to flush it. So John and I spend the next hour or so filling up the tank with water bottles that are so small no comedy writer could have written a more amusing set-up. So we fill up, and dump. Fill up and dump. Eight ounces of water at a time. Eventually I get the toilet to flush. I Huaycan-rig the remnants of the tank lid, and we dash out of there, hoping we can just blame it on a student the next day, like any responsible adult would.
It really wouldn’t do to explain to the boss that while the teachers were getting drunk, in the classroom building, we also broke the bathroom beyond all simple repair.
Okay, so that isn’t great, but no big deal. We’ve all been 19. It happens. John and I head back. Shortly thereafter I hear ruckus coming from John and Herbie’s bedroom. Herbie got up to go to the bathroom, and in his absence, John noticed that not only had Herbie !pooped! – in his bed, but that it was actually leaking down onto John’s bottom bunk. Herbie comes back and we point this out. He bursts into tears. He had no idea. So the three of us go into frenzy mode, ripping off sheets and mattresses. I’m not sure what else to do so I just star pouring massive amounts of bleach on the mattress. It’s the only cleaner we have. It’s bad. Obviously. And Herbie can’t stop apologizing and I feel bad and we try to make it so it’s not a big deal. We’ve all been 19. I’ve never been “poop-in-my-own-bed-19,” but I’d be lying if I said I don’t know some pretty respectable people today, who have pooped in some less than desirable circumstances. You all know who you are.
Then, today, I asked Herbie if he could cover a class for me so I could attend another meeting and he whined about having to do it! It was very hard, but I refrained from pointing out that here, in this program, we all help each other out. I cover for you, and you for me. Sometimes I clean your vomitty, poopy, toilet-breaking ass mess up for you, and you spend a half fricking hour in a computer class for me. Fair trade right?