My Broken Toilet Saved Me From My Daily Routine

My schedule is in a rut, and yet I scramble to defend it

Wake up.

Eat Breakfast.

Drive girlfriend to train station.

Work morning radio shift.

Have beverage at coffee shop and write about headphones.

Have lunch.

Run errands/do chores.

Work afternoon radio shift.

Pick up girlfriend from train station.

Eat Dinner.

Fun Evening Activity?


Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.


A few weeks ago, our guest toilet started leaking.

Our apartment manager had quit the day before.

I reported it to the office, and the rampant disruption of my regular cycle began.

They lost the work order. They filed a new one. I dealt with four different temp managers who refused to tell me their names. The maintenance guy finally showed up and slapped a caulk bandaid on a larger problem.

Our toilet kept leaking.

For two weeks, the stupid toilet has found new creative ways to interrupt my stupid long-established schedule.

I often complain to friends and family about the fact that I’ve fallen into a routine I sometimes don’t enjoy, and yet my brain will ardently defend that routine from all assailants foreign and domestic.

The very thing I need to mix things up is change of any kind, but the complaint center in my brain doesn’t want to do that.

Living the freelance/contract life isn’t easy. Routines help humans to thrive.

But they also trap and limit us.

I’m pretty good at squeezing creativity out of the dry stone of my brain every day around 10AM.

It’s had side effects.

I enjoy playing video games, watching movies, and listening to music. But after I made those a part of my writing job, I’ve done them less and less for fun.

My work routine has slowly grown to encompass all of my free fun time, and I think about everything “fun” in the context of how it benefits my work.

While I enjoy the analytical side of that, I need to remember to enjoy things.

The toilet leak should have been an opportunity to mix things up, but instead it laid bare to me my reliance on and my love for my routine that I whine about.

I’ve been ranting and raving about the toilet problem to anyone who will listen.

I need to get that fixed, so that the sanctity of my home will be restored!

For some reason.

I don’t like that there might be a maintenance guy not fixing my toilet inside my apartment at any time of day…even though I’m not even home for most of the day.

But I could be.

I could totally be there playing games or listening to podcasts between my two main “real” work shifts, even though I don’t usually choose to do that.

I review most of the headphones I test in coffee shops, not my house. I don’t make a lot of time for video games during the week. I don’t need to be there.

Why am I feeling so defensive of my empty apartment and my supposedly fragile routine? Do I need to play video games in the bathroom? Can’t I just use the other bathroom?

Frustration isn’t just a petty annoyance. It’s a sign that something needs to change. Seeing that gives us strength.

I shouldn’t be so attached to my routine.

Yes, it helps me to get through the tumultuous world of contract work, but it also robs me of any flexibility I once had.

Our frustrations are important, but their deeper secret is that they expose places we should make real changes.

I’m not really frustrated about the toilet continuing to need repairs. That’s almost funny at this point. It was a small problem that could have been fixed day one.

I’m frustrated that I choose to do the same things every day, and that it was laid bare.

Today, I’ll go out for lunch at a new restaurant. I’ll listen to some different music. I’ll write about my routine instead of games, tech, or music. I’ll go for a nice walk outside before the thunderstorm hits this afternoon.

And maybe while I’m doing all of that, my toilet will finally get fixed.

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