I had just arrived home from the Santa Monica farmers market with bags of groceries including organic tahini butter, almond milk, and enough kale to last me through 2015. Lugging them into the kitchen, I passed the guest bathroom. I must have also passed something else, because the whole place ranked of unmentionable horror – but I swore it wasn’t this morning’s ahi salad. I’m not sure what I expected to find, but it didn’t take long to locate the pool of black sewage backed up onto the floor around the guest bathroom’s plumbing. It’s not like I blamed the toilet; I’d have backed up too. Whatever had happened, this looked and smelled like the plumbing equivalent of norovirus.
After calling a nearby emergency plumber, I left the door unlocked and took off. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I was advised to evacuate the house – not that I planned on sticking around. The beach seemed like a natural first-stop for a day gone wrong and a mile’s jog to leave the plumbing issue behind me. Afterwards, I strolled the boardwalk and explored a few retail outlets, grabbing a Starbucks mocha (shaming my health routine) and returning to the beach to bask in the sun and wade in the shallow waves.
I stopped by the house in the early evening and was informed that along with a pipe repair, a section of the sewage line would need a replacement altogether. The technician also mentioned his team would need to stay overnight to ensure the home was, well, fit to be a home once again. It seemed I was committed to the Viceroy Hotel for the night. I didn’t even pack for it. I could have asked one of the techs about it, but hey, I needed new clothes anyway.
Fast forward to Third Street Promenade: twilight, a half-hour to park, and a Pac Sun that may not have suited my style but certainly deserved its place in the occasion. Blending with the pedestrians, I passed a breakdancer performing for cancer awareness (stage name BreakCancer) and wearing a We CanCervive! tee, which she offered in exchange for donations. I passed by the Bellagio coffee shop and felt like I had escaped to George Clooney’s Italian home, only to follow it up with a refreshing meal at True Food Kitchen.
I finished my night at the Viceroy with a margarita at the Cameo Bar, crashing in my room afterwards. I awoke next morning with a trip to their wellness studio, and having nothing to pack, I was promptly checked out before noon. Back home, I found a notice on my door and the house deodorized. The bathroom was spotless, and everything seemed to be where I left it, as if nothing had happened. It was like I’d up and decided to take a day’s vacation away from home. Who’d have thought a plumbing emergency could’ve been a good thing?