There is a point at which love of the environment runs headlong into a need to preserve modesty and decorum. That collision happens on the seat of a low flush toilet.
I love the environment. I want it to be clean and sustainable for generations to come, world without end, amen. I’m especially aware of the need to conserve water because we have a well and it has run dry. Having said that, I’m lobbying for a universal return to the 10-gallon-per-flush toilet after what happened to, er, um, a friend of mine.
My friend, whose name is…Mabel – yeah, Mabel, was at work when nature called. It was nature of a more substantial nature, if you get my drift. She went to the Ladies Room, did her business in one of the two stalls, and flushed. As she prepared to leave the stall, she looked down to make sure business had, in fact, been successfully completed. This was not the case.
She had a floater.
Mabel stood before the porcelain throne and patiently waited until the bowl completely refilled with water and the tank stopped burbling. At this point, someone else entered the Ladies Room and went into the other stall. Mabel tried not to listen to what was going on next door as she waited for the silence in her stall that would signal it was OK to reflush.
Once more she pushed down on the handle and this time the offending remnant swirled down, down and out of sight. Mission accomplished!
Mabel turned to the door. She had her hand on the latch and was prepared to shove it back when she shot a quick, “just in case” glance over her shoulder. At that moment, Unsinkable Molly Brown popped up from the bowels of the toilet.
The lady in the next stall finished, washed her hands and left the room. Mabel remained in her stall, tapping her foot. She wondered how it could take 10 minutes for a scant 1/2 cup of water to run into the bowl.
The door to the Ladies opened again and she heard 2 co-workers talking as they entered the room. Two! One entered the neighboring stall. The tank hadn’t stopped gurgling. Mabel knew it was too soon, she KNEW it, but she couldn’t help herself. She pushed down on the handle. No whirlpool resulted, of course, the water just shimmered a bit. Her heart sank. Her Baby Ruth bar did not.
She quietly took the top off the tank the better to watch the snails-pace ascent of the red, rubber ball that now controlled her fate, and she seethed with impotent rage.
Mabel knew the woman waiting for a stall was bending to peer under the door. She could practically feel her gaze on her feet. The fact that she would see the stiletto heels of Mabel’s red pumps instead of the toes would tell the whole, miserable tale. She quickly spun around to face forward.
She didn’t recall eating marshmallows and feathers for breakfast, but what else could explain the disgusting, yet light and fluffy results?
Mabel racked her brain for a way out of her dilemma. Obviously she would have to wait for these people to leave. Should she then go and try to find some sort of extraction implement in her desk – perhaps a ruler? Then what? Should she make a dash for it and leave the problem for the next toilet traveler, praying that nobody would connect her with this debacle? With her luck she would be opening the bathroom door at the exact moment the office’s biggest gossip came in, went to “her” stall and the jig would be up.
What was the protocol for this situation – as captain, was she morally obligated to go down with this ship?
She envisioned spending the rest of the work day trapped in that stall. She could be there for all of eternity. Mabel: Sisyphus of the Flush. Her quest for toileting closure would probably drain the municipal water reservoir. The entire community would be plunged into a drought because this $%&*@ low flush toilet couldn’t get the job done!
By this time the person in the next stall was washing her hands and the second woman had taken her place. Mabel waited until they were finished and the bathroom door closed on their chatter. She squared her shoulders and turned, resolute, to face her nemesis. The theme song from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly played softly in her head.
The tank had stopped gurgling. The water in the bowl was a sheet of glass reflecting the overhead light fixture, undisturbed but for the wee guest which had out-stayed its welcome. Mabel set her jaw, said a silent prayer to the restroom gods and pushed down firmly on the handle. She held her breath.
The water swirled down, down and down, taking the Lincoln Log with it. So far so good. But she remained vigilant; she’d been burned before. She waited. She waited until the downward flow of water reversed and the bowl started to refill. She waited as the water whooshed, then burbled, then shimmered. Only when the Ladies Room was completely silent, the bowl empty of all but clear, still water touched with the faintest hint of blue, did Mabel throw back the bolt on the door of her prison. She stepped out into the light of day on legs grown shaky from disuse.
As she washed her hands, she vowed that henceforth she would do all of her personal business in the safety and comfort of her home bathroom, with its 10-gallon-per-flush toilet. Mabel left the Ladies Room a sadder but wiser gal.
Addendum: Anybody have any coupons for Industrial Strength Depends? For Mabel.