We are having a late holiday at my parents’ house in California. I needed to remind Dave of the “Danger Toilet” in the guest bathroom. You see, this toilet does NOT take a licking and keep on ticking.
Why would I write about this? A toilet? Well, because it’s not just a toilet. It’s a legacy. It is a self-perpetuating chapter in our family lore. It has sparked embarrassment, arguments and outrage. It is a fearsome fixture in my parents’ house.
More than anything, this toilet causes me to contemplate my own biology. I don’t often encounter opportunities to question how “my functions” compare to other people. But this toilet inspires those fleeting types of philosophical wanderings.
Invariably, during holidays or other family events, this toilet backs up. My parents swear that it works just fine. However, whenever there are guests, someone breaks it. Invariably. Always. Without fail. It breaks. Somehow or another.
Imagine the horror. Imagine you are a guest in someone’s house and you visit the restroom, and you conduct your business as you always have. In all your life, you’ve had no indicators that you might be a “large pooper.” Yet, you flush the toilet and it stalls. You get the swirl, but not the all-important magic vanishment.
Now you contemplate your options. It’s just you, alone in the world, with your private little catastrophe. What to do? Flush again? Perhaps, but there is the risk of overflow and that will take your embarrassing situation to Panic Emergency Level. This would alert the whole house, maybe a plumber and perhaps the neighbors of what you did.
Is there a plunger? Of course not. This is the guest bathroom. Guests aren’t supposed to see nasty items like plungers in the clean, dainty guest bathroom. When you enter the guest bathroom, you are supposed to forget that there has ever been a need for such things as plungers. Or, by extension, by not having a plunger in the guest bathroom, it is as if to say “We are normal poopers in this house, and we don’t need such things.”
What to do? What to do? It’s right there. It’s not going away. Since this is my parents’ house, and I am not a guest, but family, I know I can march out into the living room, or perhaps while everyone is eating dinner, and proudly announce there is an issue with the toilet. And then promptly blame my sister.
“It was like that! It’s Meredith’s fault!”
“It wasn’t me! I didn’t even use the bathroom!”
“Yes you did! And you did it the last time!”
“That toilet sucks, but there is something wrong with you!”
How many times have we done this?
My dad will sigh and sadly shake his head.
“You girls need to learn how to chew your food.”