April 8, 2005
There is so little in this world that entirely makes sense to me. There are the reliable things – the love of my parents, the sun rising too early, and my removal of all traces of makeup just before my doorbell rings. But I am just like you, in that other phenomena do not fit into the reliable equations that I firmly count on to both explain society as well as keep the Earth steadily on its axis. Take, for instance, the extended love affair between David Copperfield and that toothy yellow model. That when someone warns you of a foul odor you cannot resist inhaling deeply and at great length. That your mother can make you feel two inches tall on cue.

Occasionally, I find myself bombarded by these nonsensical oddities. The following are two of the things that struck me one morning, even before my first 64-ounce Diet Coke.

1) Cellulite on my calves.

Isn’t it enough that it has claimed its territory on my hind quarters, and its brethren, the stretch mark, has taken over my other essential nether-regions? In an effort to rationalize, I have convinced myself that stretch marks and cellulite must fulfill a very important biological function. That is, they must serve as surefire evidence of the fattiest of tissues, and, therefore, I will surely be the last consumed should my tour group’s Cessna plummet to the ground prior to reaching base camp. A survival of the fittest. Of sorts.

2) The self-flushing toilet.

I know I am not alone. I hear the cries of those in neighboring stalls who shriek in fear as the toilet commences its flush prior to them returning to their upright stance; visions of their buttocks being sucked into the gritty pipes of the Hilton or Wendy’s or Hooters basement flashing through their startled minds. I once had a theory that these new contraptions were supposed to serve as a combination toilet and bidet, showering your backside with recycled water before you were able to argue to the contrary. How Parisian.

I recently attended a conference in a facility well known for its limited space. Upon entering the ladies lounge, I was struck by how spacious the room was, equipped with a makeup room with ample space for after-dinner dancing and two – that’s right – two working paper towel dispensers. While standing in line, I laid eyes upon what I knew would be the bane of my existence for the next three days of my stay: the half-stall. That’s right; this bathroom had three full-sized stalls, and one that the evil genius bathroom architect man had squeezed in there against the building codes and anatomy textbooks that had argued otherwise.

My turn arrived, and, as expected, the halfsey was mine. The toilet was flush against the right wall, so I was forced to brace myself with my left limbs so as not to fall into the handicapped stall next to me. Brilliant engineering. When I had achieved balance that would have been the envy of one Miss Mary Lou Retton, it was then that the toilet beneath me flushed not once, but two times, showering me with Marriott holy water. Sopping wet, I reached with my nearly immobile right hand into the Kimberly-Clarke toilet paper dispenser. And ah yes, it did not fail me. As expected, it greedily parceled out one sheet at a time before angrily breaking off and denying the next. I was sure that a FOX studio audience someplace in America would benefit from my moist misfortune courtesy of hidden cameras.

After blotting my bits with paper ample only to cover a toddler’s palm, I quickly reassembled myself and started out, only to realize that the toilet had not flushed after its first two attempts at fully bathing me. Late for a conference session at this point, I waved my hand frantically in front of the porcelain king’s red sensor eye. I moved my body to and fro, bum and puffier parts careening off of its tiny walls, thinking that maybe my presence in the stall was unintentionally fooling it into inaction. Nearing exhaustion, I gave up. It had won. I left behind the empty stall and by now barren bathroom, head hanging, thighs still a little damp from the ne’er requested shower of my lower 48.

And damn it if I didn’t hear that satanic toilet flush when I was halfway down the hotel hallway.


Blogger kitkat said...

I feel I have to comment since I made the remark on my blog about people not knowing how to flush toilets at my work. Automatic toilets have a button on them that you can push to make it flush if the sensor isn't working. So, no excuses! I don't want to see an unflushed toilet from you, young lady! Kidding...at any rate, I have a bit of a phobia of public restrooms. I mean, I'll go if I have to, but if I can wait, I do. It's not about the cleanliness or anything (although it is about cleanliness when it isn't clean), I just like doing my business in private and in the comfort of my own bathroom.

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