do i win a prize for pretentious post-title, or what?!
have you ever accidentally clogged up someone else's loo by depositing in it something utterly natural but utterly too dense or large or stubborn to make it round the s-bend and out towards the haven of the sewers? i discussed this issue recently with a (close) friend, and we decided that if the host had any hostly feeling s/he would have an industrial-strength plunger somewhere in the bathroom; and if there was no such implement to be found then one might leave with a smidgeon less guilt.
luckily it was my own loo. luckily i had the plunger. i bought it at the katonah fair, striding jauntily down main street with it mounted on my shoulder like a ww1 rifle, waving gaily at congregants wandering through the paintings and pleas for supporting the library. unfortunately it did not work. i returned to the friendly gentlemen at the hardware store in katonah, hoping to be handed a magic potion i could pour into the bowl and liquidate the misguided blob. the young man gave me a bottle, and i was delighted. then his boss took it away. apparently it would have caused a chemical reaction that would have blown up the blob and the bowl and the bathroom. instead, i walked to my car with a long dangly pipe and spring contraption called a toilet auger. i was not, however, able to forsee how completely unable to use it i would be.
we skip over the next bit. suffice it to say that
a. the auger, wrapped in a full-length garbage bag, is now out on the kerb
b. i had a novel experience in the dark in the woods at the edge of the property
c. the next day i called the landlady to get the plumber round
the plumber just left. it took him 2 minutes to fix the problem, and cost $132 and change. as i watched him flushing a few times to make sure all was clear, i told him how when i went to sydney, australia a few years ago, the first thing i wanted to do when i got off the plane was to find a toilet to flush. i didn't need to explain. "i'd've done the same," he said, "how was it?" i told him i'd been terribly disappointed because my first toilet there was designed to have no swirl at all (the water came down from all around the bowl at the same time). o well. he is gone. and i, i am relieved!