I woke up at 10:30 am and calculated the hours before I had to leave for work. Pete had just fallen into bed three hours prior after his overnight shift. I kissed him lightly and scooted out of bed. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and went to the bathroom.
The last part of this daily routine, however, turned out to be a colossal mistake. Because if you ever have spicy chili for dinner, you can pretty much bank on the fact that the toilet is not going to work in the morning. If you also ate the greasy appetizer, you should probably just find an outhouse or secluded bush. Which is exactly what I wished I had done as I inspected the toilet tank and began plunging a swamp of dirty poop water.
After about ten minutes of plunging and pulling on ever lever in the tank, it became pretty apparent that I wasn't getting anywhere. So I took a break and checked my email. Around 11:00 I went back into the bathroom, secretly hoping that poo fairies would have snuck in and taken care of it for me. Instead, I realized that the toilet bowl was slowly filling with more water. I plunged it down to a safe level, trying to use my peripheral vision to make sure that I was plunging accurately. I nearly barfed at the site of my own crap. 20 minutes later, I was angry.
"What's wrong with the bathroom door?" Pete asked.
"I slammed it," I said. "That's what's wrong with the door." I didn't care how juvenile I was being.
"Why would you slam the door?"
"Because I've spent half my freaking morning trying to get the freaking toilet to flush, and it's disgusting and I can't do it, and I need help." I plopped on the bed with childish dramatics. Then I followed him to the bathroom.
"Okay," I said, "but can you fix it without looking in the toilet bowl? Just, you know, lift up the tank lid and figure out what's wrong."He looked at me a little sideways. "Joy, why does it matter if I look in the toilet bowl? It's just poop. Do you think your poop is more gross than my poop?"
"Yes. I do."
He was being extremely patient. "Well, I want to help you, but eventually I'm going to have to look to make sure it's not overflowing."
Very suddenly, my face contourted and I started to cry. I cried big, loud sobs. I cried hiccups, gurgles, and spilling tears. "It's just so gross, and I don't want you to see it. I need you to fix it but I don't want you to see it. It's disgusting, nasty poop water and it's probably more gross than anything that has ever come out of you."
"Are you really crying because you don't want me to see your poop water?" he asked. I nodded yes, and he pulled me into a hug. Then he started laughing. He laughed big belly laughs... rolling and overflowing laughs. This made me sob even harder, so we stood together in the stinky bathroom, him laughing and me crying, and meanwhile the basin continued to fill up little by little. He took the tank lid off and began filling it with a lot more water than I had thought necessary. Then he pressed the flusher and lifted the lid to the toilet bowl. He saw me cringe and said, "Joy, it looks just like my poop water." The swamp began to swirl, and then it dissapreared. I can't imagine a dessert wanderer would breathe a deeper sigh of relief than I did at the sight of clean water. It gurgled up triumphantly and settled in the bowl
Sometimes I need someone to help me with my shit, but don't want them to actually look at my shit. It doesn't really work that way. What I need is for someone else to open the toilet bowl and then hold me.
"Your humantiy looks just like my humanity," I need to hear. "And I can help you.".