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|