Monday, June 24, 2013

Wipe, but don't flush. Holy Shit!

Life in these United States has changed me in many ways.  Including one that is not by any means trivial--life gets difficult without toilet paper!

Back when I was a kid, people used to joke about how the Westerners didn't wash but only wiped their butts. With paper.  I thought it was hysterical a life without butts being washed.

Nearly hysterical do I become now when I realize that I might not get the toilet paper option in India.

Two years ago, when I visited with a friend, Sudha, and her family, she gently reminded me not to flush the toilet paper.  I think she read the expressions on my face--I know I am not fit to play poker.  Throughout my life it has been that way.

A view of Sudha's home

I wondered how I did it the old way that until I left for the US.  I couldn't recall a few fine points. Especially about the wet butt.  Now, I was even more hysterical thinking that I will be walking out of the toilet with water dripping down my legs.  Do people take towels in with them to wipe themselves dry after washing?  Or, in the old days did I simply bear with a slightly moistened underwear?

People don't talk enough about the logistics of shit.  I would think that the world will be a better place if we honestly talked shit.  It is not that we are not curious about all these.  After all, as Mary Roach pointed out, one of the first questions that we apparently ask about space travel is, well, about the bathroom issues!

Sudha gave me an option.  She is always into fixing problems.  "I will give you a trash bag. Wipe and put that paper in the trash bag.  The maid will take care of that bag; she cleans the bathroom every day anyway."

This made it even worse a scenario.  In the first place to leave it in a trash bag.  And then for somebody else to dump that?

I preferred to deal with the washing.  I remembered to take the towel in every single time--wet bums are not me.

That was then.  Here in Costa Rica, I sat on the pot and as I reached for the toilet paper, I saw this sign:


Oh my freaking god!  It is Sudha's suggestion all over again.  I opted to follow the rule than to have them come to fix a clogged toilet.

Later, when exiting the lodge on my way to explore the place, I asked Andreas about the sign in the bathroom.  "Yes, that is the rule all over Costa Rica" he said with what I thought was a Germanic stern tone, though only slightly.  Perhaps he wanted to make sure that I didn't think it is a mere suggestion.

When I returned to my room, I decided to Google to find out if Andreas was correct--so incredible the arrangement was to me that I couldn't even trust Andreas completely!  Well, of course Andreas was right.

I decided that when I returned home, I would head straight to the toilet and throw a couple of strips of toilet paper into the pot and flush it simply to watch the paper going down.  God bless the US of A!

At the far right is the door to the bathroom

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

we had a similar experience in Peru. Most of these countries do not have waste water treatments setup like the US, plus the water force is not good enough to flush out the paper. So if you do throw the paper down the flush, be prepared to float in shit water when the toilet gets clogged

Narayanaswamy S. said...

wow - at least they warned you!

Shachi said...

oh my god...laughing out loud at this post. You are right, not much is talked about shit business.

We potty trained the daughter in India, and she loves her bum being washed vs being wiped with a tissue....it was hard to get her to transition back here, but she now seems to have accepted it.

Sriram Khé said...

yeah, at least there was a big sign up, right? else, i would have been, ahem, in a whole lot of shit ;)

i suppose kids will have fun with the washing--i can't imagine very many kids not treating it as a fun thing

yep ... another reason to stay forever in the good ol' US of A ;)

Ramesh said...

A damp ass versus a not so clean ass - the eternal dilemma of life. I shall not venture into a discussion and proof of the aforesaid statement !!

Sriram Khé said...

oh come on, Ramesh ... that's the best you could do? hmmm ... ;)

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