Sunday, November 29, 2015
Two Thursdays ago I dumped the entire contents of the litter box down the toilet. I know you’re not supposed to do that, even if you use “flushable” litter like I do—but it was like I’d lost my mind, and some weird cosmic cesspool seemed to be calling the litter home. I can still hear the whoosh of the walnut-shell pellets leaping into the bowl like spawning salmon.
The toilet immediately started overflowing, and I ran to the kitchen to get a plastic container in order to bail out the water, which I threw into the sink. When I got close to the bottom, I took a wire hanger and pushed it as far as I could down the snakey maze of the bowl’s innards. Encountering no clumps or clogs, I stubbornly, blindly pulled a Pollyanna and…
I flushed again.
At this point things went from suck to blow, the pellet and poo stew reappearing from the depths of the bowl and sloshing at my toes. I slid into the nearest available shoes—my beloved copper Birkenstocks—and gloriously surrendered to my own idiocy, making things worse with each progressively bad decision I made. First smooth move, ex-lax: I bailed out water and backed-up pellets into the sink. Second smooth move, ex-lax: When the sink got too full, I moved to the bathtub, which already had been slow to drain over the past few weeks.
Finally, with the toilet clogged and both the sink and the bathtub refusing to drain, I surrendered.
“I’m an idiot,” I told the after-hours emergency plumbers in a shaky voice. “Please help.” At this point Sal was yelling at me that he had to go to the bathroom, while Ira was scratching at the empty litterbox—neither of them gave a sh*t (c’mon, I had to write that!). While I waited for the plumbers, I bailed as much of the standing water as I could. But there was no place left to put it, right?! Wrong—not when you’re as foolishly, muleishly resourceful as I am…so I flung it out the window, hoping to God since it was pouring out that no one else had their window open.
The plumbers—it took two, huge and beer-bellied—brought a giant snake with them, and some motorized thing that whirred and sucked when turned on. I went to ask them some questions and apologize, and they ignored me. One walked by and rolled his eyes, muttering “Ridiculous!” right as he passed me, while the other stood in the middle of the living room looking at his phone, dripping water on the floor. Who knew plumbers were so passive-aggressive?!
I don’t know if anything like this has happened to you, but there’s something so…infantalizing…about your toilet overflowing, a primal shame of getting caught with your pants down. So when I heard them say, “Look at this, we gotta get a picture of this,” galumphing around in the tub to take photos of the supposedly 5 pounds of sludge that had been stopping it up, I couldn’t even look at them. They slammed out the door, threatening to charge me twice.
The next day, though, I was oddly rejuvenated, flushing freely and fearlessly. It had been a wake-up call—if those rude oafs who spend their days cleaning up shit think I’M disgusting…. !!! Histrionic much? Sure, but if I was going to panic, I better go all out, and it better be for a good reason. I had a sense this could be about a lot more than kitty litter—what do you want to flush away so that no one can ever see?
It’s true—on a surface-y kind of level, I suspect I may be a slob. I’ve seen cat hair in the refrigerator, and I have a drawer that sometimes doesn’t open because of the wires and cables and ear buds I’ve shoved in to it. Some people may be fine with that, but I have a low trash threshhold--visual clutter is very anxiety-making for me.
Since then, I’ve been hanging up my coat instead of throwing it over the chair. Seeing what’s hiding in the corners. Recycling clothing items I don’t wear that someone else might. And I consider it healthy for my ego that the day after the Big Flush, I felt a blooming, belated rage at those plumbing oafs. I’m just really trying to get my sh*t together.
P.S. I did lose my copper Birks in the battle.