At first he’d only use me when he needed me, once or twice a day. He’d come into my little home, say here you are my porcelain throne, then like everyone else unbuckle his belt, pull his trousers and boxers down (some do this together, others in separate tugs) then sit on my perfectly molded plastic seat.
He wouldn’t stay for long. In, sit, flush, out, but he was kinder than the others, always wiping off any yellow sprinkles that had dried and attracted dust and hair to my rim or seat. If he left any stains himself, he’d tear off some toilet paper, bend down and gently dab or rub them off until I was pristine again.
It was only later he began to stay longer and come more. Then he’d open the door slowly and spend time trying to find the lock. He wouldn’t look at me straightaway, but stare at the white tiles behind me then shuffle around and undo his belt facing the door. He’d take time over his fly and gently push his trousers down as if they were cutting into his legs, and when he sat down he’d pull a rectangular box out of his pockets and begin pressing at it so that it lit up and bleeped until he said, better turn that off, then kept on pressing and pressing.
In those moments he forgot about me, not moving unless his backside became too sweaty and he had to adjust his seating position. He wouldn’t even use me. Nothing splashed into my welcoming water, no sound echoed around my hole. He’d just sit then stand up and flush after a certain amount of time, use my water even though it had nothing to take with it. (I consoled it a bit saying sometimes you’re better off without, but it didn’t understand).
After a few visits like this he began staying even longer. He’d walk in, sit down as usual, produce an even bigger rectangle – this one without a light – then open it and stare at it for the equivalent of time it took for five, six, ten people to come and leave. I could feel the other toilets flush, the water spraying and gushing, the stamp of feet, the odd mumbled word, raspy cough, hack and spit, the industrial vibration of what felt like every breath and fart any man had ever produced.
And he wouldn’t move. Once or twice someone knocked on the door, but he simply knocked back or coughed or grunted and they would go away. I didn’t mind. I was being used. But the more he came the less he gave me till eventually one day he just came, put my cover down like some do when they leave me disgraced with brown marks (they’re embarrassed, I’m disgusted; even it it’s their fault I somehow think the next person will blame me) then sat down, got his big rectangle out and didn’t leave. The lights went off and he lay down beside me hugging me until they, the lights, came back on again and he resumed his sitting position.
This went on and on until someone (one of the hack-and-spitters) knocked on my door and said his name, Martin, what are you doing in there? To which my guy said: Sitting on the loo. But you’ve been in there for ages, the other guy went on, is something wrong? No, Martin replied, just a dicky tummy, that’s all. Well, go home if you want. We’re not too busy today (this other guy must’ve been Martin’s boss or team leader or something). And Martin said: That’s okay. I like it here. You like it? Yes, I like it. I thought you said you had a stomachache. Yeah, I did. Oh, all right.
And that was that. The end. He’s never left since. Eventually he closed his big rectangle, but after a while he opened it again. He’s never opened the door. Or taken his trousers down. When the lights go out, he lies down beside me and puts his arms around my base, warming me as I cool him. And when the light comes back on, he sits up, cups his hand in my bowl and drinks my water then goes back to the rectangle again.
I’m not sure this is how I’m supposed to live, but it’s better than the yellow sprinkles and horrifying brown marks and, anyway, Martin seems to like it.
- Toilet Trouble (domesticgoddessornot.wordpress.com)
- Photos: Another Strange Toilet (buyartbyant.wordpress.com)
- Students at Pa. school must ask for toilet paper (edweek.org)
- A Few Things I Learned About Work and Life I Learned From Plugging Up a Toilet on Purpose. (tommoyer.wordpress.com)
- 10 Reasons Why You Have to Quit Your Job This Year (thoushaltnotsmoke.wordpress.com)
- Playing Hooky With Your Life: All its Cracked Up to Be? (cakesandshakes.wordpress.com)