My bathroom flooded. There was a leak in the ceiling, and that leak must have thought I was itching to the “Flashdance” scene. My first instinct was to panic. My second was to tell myself that maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe if I stepped into the bathroom and made my way to the sink, the puddles of doom would prove to be nothing more than a slippery surface. Alas, this was not the case. My third instinct was to flee the problem and leave the building.

Somewhere in between fleeing and realizing that a full psychoanalysis exercise could stem from this experience — self, is your flooded bathroom a metaphor for bigger things? — I inquired to see if the maintenance staff for my building would check out the soon-to-be Olympic pool. They said they were on it, and that a Disaster Team was coming to suck up all the water.

A Disaster Team. Oh my gosh. Would they have capes and matching uniforms? Or would they all have distinct personalities and their own special skills? Would they be fantastic, like the Fantastic Four? Would one be in the absence of clothing, a la The Flesh from Action League Now? Am I one of few with distinct memories of that televised wonder of the 90s?

The fact that a Disaster Team (yes, capitalized) had to come to save my bathroom only confirmed that my first instinct of panic was absolutely correct. This was, in fact, a Disaster.

The Disaster was not that a Team had to come swoop in and save the day and de-flood my bathroom, but that in the absence of a Team or a maintenance man to fix my plumbing, I wouldn’t have known what to do. Throw down some towels, maybe, but I wouldn’t have had the sanity to even stick a bucket under the leak.

I suppose if I were to be given a Really Big Disaster — one that involves more than treks through puddles of doom and my bath mat getting soaked — I would have had to come to my own devices and figure out what to do. I have enough common sense for that. But when faced with a Disaster like this one, a small household Disaster, I had to realize that the real Disaster was my lack of some normal household skills that I really should pick up before graduating.

The lightbulb went on for a number of things I realized I have to learn in the next few months. I do not aspire to be a housewife, but I do aspire to live on my own. I would rather not have to call a Disaster Team for a minor flood, a small kitchen fire, one single cockroach. Granted, a leak in my ceiling requires more skills than I could possibly master, as I know little about plumbing systems and hydraulics, not to mention standing on a chair to barely reach my ceiling. But I would prefer to graduate college, knowing how to distinguish a Disaster from a problem.

If I, and all of us, can leave college with ample skills to live on our own (which is, in part, the purpose of going away to college), then we’re in a way better position. The even better position would be the ability to look at a problem and assess its gravity. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important things to acquire before sauntering off into that thing I keep referencing this year — that thing called Real Life.

And while I would like a team (preferably the stop motion figurines from Action League Now) to swoop in and save the day as I enter Real Life, I know that Real Life is far from a Disaster. If I’m not prepared for it, then, sure, maybe it will be. But as bathroom floods make for wonderful analytical metaphors — I don’t quite think it will be.