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.