I know the importance of keeping drains clean. I monitor 3 of them, you know, and I think I do a pretty decent job. Would they pass my mother's inspection if she came over for a surprise visit? I'm not sure. But I figure that if the water flows down them quickly and if they look visually clean, then all should be well, right? And, after all, it's not like I have a roommate who would complain. It's just me.
Or so I thought.
A moment ago, while I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I heard the sounds of someone working very hard at something very metallic.
Had Abby, the girl below me, risen in the middle of the night to work on the plumbing in this building or something? A far-fetched idea, I realize, but it crossed my mind. Who else would be up? Who else is even here?
I paused the brushing of my teeth to hear a little better. The scraping continued. Someone was definitely working at something.
I listened a little longer. The sound was coming from within the bathroom! It sounded like it was originating from my tub. Yes, there was a faint echo to the scraping, like the sound waves were tickling the sides of the porcelain.
Braced with fear yet coerced by curiosity, I whisked back the shower curtain -- but saw no one. Then I noticed that someone had removed my drain cover entirely, placing it about 3 inches from the drain hole, and indeed someone...something!...was lodged inside my drain!!
I moved in closer and bent down to get a better look. I saw something I recognized, but certainly not in this context. It was a beautiful beige sea shell, but I have not been to the beach anytime recently.
Then it dawned on me. It was my hermit crab! Fragile Flossie had clearly had ENOUGH of my lackadaisical drain-cleaning maintenance and had gone to great lengths to travel to my tub, roll up her metaphorical sleeves, and get down to cleaning the nitty-gritty in a way that only someone of her size could do. Her detail-oriented, dexterous claws were eagerly tearing through shampoo-encrusted hairs that I didn't even know where there!
I exclaimed with appreciation, asking her to stop, telling her that she needn't be so concerned with the condition of my drain, yet promising to do a better job in the future keeping it clean. I felt embarrassed to admit to her that normally I do not remove the drain cover and delve down into the recesses (where she was treading) but normally simply wipe the cover clean from the top. I promised profusely never again to be so negligent, but she just went on about her business like she was tired of hearing my stories.
A moment later, I was literally ON MY KNEES in that tub, BEGGING her to come out. But she persisted with the task at hand. And she was too far down for me to get my fingers around her shell and pull her up.
So, I decided to try a more emotional tactic. I would pretend to CRY. In so doing, I deftly began to turn on the water, in the hopes of convincing her that all this was causing my tear ducts to leak.
At first she continued to ignore me. So then I pretended to cry more profusely. But...more ignoring. So, spewing forth came MORE tears (by way of increasing the water flow from the spicket). Finally, she grew concerned (probably not for me but for the possibility of drowning) and so she quit the operation and crawled out just as quickly and as easily as she must have gotten down there.
I thanked her for caring, reassured her that she would not have to lift a finger (well, a claw) on this again in the future, and went the 'fridge to offer her a chunk of cold fillet mignon and an apple slice.
She is eating happily right now. And my bathtub drain is cleaner than ever!