Everybody poops. But nobody needs to know that.

I have a question.

I’ll admit I’m kind of uncertain about even asking this question. Because it might be a ridiculous question. Because this is the last week of summer semester, and the last week of any semester my I.Q. drops about 30 points. Seriously: ever made soup and poured it into a colander, then poured the remaining solid into a bowl and heard the sad squish sound of soup solids sans broth? That’s not even the clearest sign you’re brain-dulled. It’s the fact that you stare at the bowl for a few seconds, aware that something’s wrong but not exactly sure what. That happened to me last night. That was when I knew twas time to stick a fork in me gulliver.


I was so exhausted by midnight, as the emails kept coming in with more and more essays to look over, I burst into tears and laughter. The laughter was not a sound of joy; it was like a belt snapped and my sanity had rolled downhill away from me. The tears were actually closer to joy than the laughter, though I wouldn’t even call them joyous. I wouldn’t call them anything, because they didn’t feel like my tears. It didn’t feel like I was the one crying. Something inside just…snapped. I heard myself reacting, but I couldn’t control it.

I was in the middle of an awesome sleep when, around 4:30, I awoke to the smell of rotten eggs. This wasn’t the first time this has happened in my current digs. In fact, it’s the 4th time in 4+ months it’s happened. Once again, something was wrong with the plumbing. This meant no using the toilet till a plumber OK’d flushing.


Naturally, this was a morning I had to pee like a fish (SPOILER: I’m rubbish with biology. I don’t even know if fish pee. It sounded clever in my head). Also, my butt usually needs a good half-hour before all systems are go and we’re ready to make a deposit…but of course, this had to be the morning when the instant I was conscious he was ready to rumble.
I considered going to work early and using the faculty bathroom, a one-toilet exclusive Valhalla. But that’d mean getting changed, ideally showering, and then going to work early. I didn’t need to be there until noon, so if I went there to poop, what was I going to do for 4-5 hours?

Suddenly, an idea. Shocking in its audacity. The plumber said we couldn’t flush the toilet. He didn’t say we couldn’t use the toilet.

I live alone. My dilemma: I wasn’t going to be home again till 5 p.m., at which time the plumbing would undoubtedly be fixed. If I pooped and then went to work, that lonely turd would float, suspended and alone, in my toilet for 9 hours. I didn’t like this idea. I’m not sure why. It’s not like there are roving bands of thieves scouring Long Island looking to cop strangers’ feces. Like, really, on the list of things you can leave lying around secure in the knowledge they’ll be there when you return, shit’s atop the list. Hell, shit’s probably the cover page of that list.
But you know what will happen if you poop and leave, I thought. Do that and you guarantee someone will for some reason end up in your bathroom while you’re away. It’s like the Murphy’s Law of Poop. Someone will encounter your abandoned poop. They’ll know you poop! Even worse, they’ll know you’re an absentee pooper.



I decided I was being ridiculous. What was the worst-case scenario? That someone would empirically confirm I produce solid waste? What was the worst thing that would happen if someone saw it? They’d flush? What’s the damage there? I gathered my courage, wished my paranoia a good day, pooped, put both seats down (this lady minds her manners, and manners cost nothing), and left for work.

Just got home a few minutes ago. I crashed on my couch, beat from another full day of reading & revising & conferencing. Then I remembered: oh yeah. That. I went to the bathroom and turned on the light. The toilet lid was up. The toilet was empty. Someone had been in my bathroom. Someone had seen my poo and flushed it away.

I feel violated. Should I? How would you feel? Would you ever have taken such a risk? Did some stranger do me a solid (pun intended)? Or was I wronged in an almost incomprehensible way?

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