21st Century Woman

04 May 2023

I am, by nature, an optimistic person. I believe in the good of people – and things in general. When life goes south, it must eventually go north again (or wherever ‘up’ is), right? Tides turn. Bad days get better. But even I have instances so comically terrible that they cannot be salvaged.

Something I recently learned about myself, for example, is that I hugely appreciate modern plumbing. A functioning toilet? Great. A sink to wash your hands afterward? Amazing. A shower where the water flushes away, never to be seen again? Hugely underappreciated.

As is the nature of comically bad days, I learned this standing under the shower, hair soaked in rosemary oil for hair health purposes, at approximately 10 pm on a Monday evening when my entire plumbing system just gave up. Or, more precisely, the water pump that is the backbone of my basement apartment’s plumbing system did.

It’s interesting how thin the layer of modernity really is. Take away the electricity-powered shower, sink, and toilet, and you, too, can observe a rather quick descent into pre-industrial society. I already had an icky feeling about the 18th century when I had to study it for my early modern history course. This simply solidified the assumption.

‘My parents grew up in a socialist dictatorship’

Sure, the 21st century has its issues – the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate change, the general feeling of doom looming on the horizon. But I am a 21st century woman through and through. I was born just in time – neither too late nor too early. My parents grew up in a socialist dictatorship and lived through its collapse. My grandparents grew up in post-war East Germany. The generation before that? World War Two. The one before that? World War One. And as we have already established, every century that did not involve proper plumbing generally doesn’t work for me.

If the Back to the Future trilogy had happened to me, I would have driven right off the cliff by the third movie when Michael J. Fox lands in the Wild West. There is no way I could have made 1885 work. I lived without a functioning toilet once and it was enough.

Now, the plumbing is fixed, my apartment doesn’t smell anymore, and it’s been a while since I last cried because of a shower. Bad days do get better, and, at the very least, you can always walk into the office the following morning and say: ‘You will never believe what my next column is going to be about.’

Read Antonia Leise's blogs here

Great that you are reading Vox! Do you want to stay up to date on all university news?

Thanks for adding the vox-app!

Leave a comment

Vox Magazine

Independent magazine of Radboud University

read the latest Vox online!

Vox Update

A direct, daily or weekly update with our articles in your mailbox!