I have been a bit offline. This week was the second try at the air-conditioning check and the fourth attempt to repair a malfunctioning refrigerator, barely old enough to have shed its one-year warranty like a crackling and useless snakeskin. And then there was the commode.

First it wouldn’t quit running and refilling — something it’s done over the last four years through two replacements of its plastic guts. Then it stopped refilling. Users were obliged to flush it ignominiously with a large red bucket which I keep in the bathtub. As soon as we found a free hour, the Engineer and I organized pails and tools, only to discover that the cut-off valve under the tank would cut off nothing, other than our plans to solve the problem.

The fucking commode was doubtless as old as the house, which is nearly seventy. It sat on shims, owing to past water damage that made the floor ripply. As long as it kept in working order, I didn’t care; I don’t need an Intelligent Toilet, or a golden artifact from some Saudi oil millionaire’s private jet. I just want to go, and go. I had been fixing this porcelain saboteur for long enough.

I used to work with a woman who eventually married the owner of a plumbing outfit located at about the first mile marker of my morning walk. Phone tag occurred. Yesterday two unexpected yokels appeared at my door (“Emilia sent us”)to take measurements and scampered off again; this morning at around nine, a cell phone call turned out to be the selfsame yokels, pulling up to my curb in a battered SUV full of crapper paraphernalia, including a liberal supply of the wax seals used to secure the toilet to the outflow line (JONNI-RING, read the boxes, next to an illustration of a Captain-America like figure presumably defending your home against sewer gases).

“Should take about thirty minutes,” said the older of the two mooks.

Two hours, a hammer blow with a four pound maul (mine), several mighty struggles with frozen bolts, a stately progress through the yard with the carcass, and one trip back to headquarters later, they presented me with a bill for about what I gross in two days and left me to inaugurate this gleaming, sleek receptacle.

It is a bijoona.

You do not know the bijoona? I had not experienced one lo these many years — despite my fondness for the shaggy toilet lid covers commonly blamed for the phenomenon. I personally believe it has something to do with a local aberration in the laws of physics, sort of a Crapper Event Horizon that sucks everything nearby towards it. You put up the lid. The lid clonks down. If you are a woman this really is not a problem.

I contemplated my new bijoona, thinking of the number of times my Albino Ex had not only failed to put the seat back down, but protested his God-given right to leave the seat up because “I put it up, you can put it back down.” Of the woman I once sang with in a volunteer chorus, who ran into the bathroom one night at three AM while hugely pregnant and found herself jack-knifed butt-down in the waters of the unseated commode.

The Engineer — a solid citizen who always drops the seat — uses the one upstairs anyway, mostly.

I smiled and welcomed my bijoona to the household.


10 thoughts on “Incommoded

  1. Hi, sled.

    We should all, at some point, work with a woman who eventually marries the owner of a plumbing outfit. Or be the woman who eventually marries the owner of a plumbing outfit. Or maybe just fucking be part of the plumbing outfit. Why did I do none of these things?

    Is it too late to learn plumbing? Maybe not. I see we are both still alive. Could I be an unexpected yokel? Of some kind?

    Hi. I hope all is well with you.

    • Hello, beautiful stranger.

      It is never too late to learn anything, especially if involves basic physics and the use of a four-pound maul.

      All is well, if a bit strange and spiced by the presence of a bijoona. Are you ever to be found dancing with the Muses on the great Web again?

  2. I actually own an anti-bijoona. Think it is our fourth or fifth seat in 10 years. Slow-closing, but unfortunately has silver paint on the fittings which has turned a lovely shade of vomit-green now.

    • When I was shopping toilets, before it became clear that something had to be done NOW, I saw several anti-bijoonas offered for sale and was intrigued. But in the end, I just needed a toilet and feel that the Goddess decided I should have a bijoona. It has a nostalgic halo about it, taking me back to the 1970s era when I was reading Playboy Magazine humor and found that immortal treatise on the bijoona linked in the post (did anyone click through to that?) I remember laughing my ass off. So to speak. Innocent days.

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