Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rolling out my thoughts on toilet paper




     I have a love-hate relationship with toilet paper, or toilet tissue, whichever you prefer.
    How I love it when it is right there handy. And I take it for granted the majority of the time. There is a comfort level in reaching out day or night knowing what to expect like the AT&T commercial.
      On the other hand, I grit my teeth when I am in Asia, or other remote area, where toilet paper is not a cultural necessity. The whole sanitation concept gets flushed down the nearest stream. I have no other choice. I put up with it and live like a local.
     In rural Mexico it is bad enough showering with my mouth closed to keep out the germs. I step out of the stall like I already have essential oils slathered on my skin. But to have small, shear strips of toilet paper to use and throw in a wastebasket, is something to shake my head over.
      It isn’t convenient for a female to rough it out in the woods with no toilet paper whatsoever barring any thoughts of saving expense and doing the environment a favor. I’ve done my share.
     No wonder tent camping is for younger bladders, and comfy beds in RV’s and motels suit the rest of us thank you very much.
     There is a rule of thumb: The older you get, the closer you want to be located in a public venue to eyeball the restroom.   
     On desperate occasions during a long car haul with too much caffeine floating in my system, I have to resort to a rural gas station bathroom. It looks like it has been preserved in tact and not cleaned since the 50’s.
     The toilet itself is a rust bowl without minimal water pressure. That’s when all the Kleenex in my pockets— travel tip: check your supply before entering a questionable place— comes out for wiping, covering the seat and cleansing my hands. Perhaps, that’s the night I appreciate the hotel bathroom the most of all.
      As a kid I had the greatest fun using the outhouse at my grandfather’s summer cottage. At least it was memorable in the daytime.  Middle of the night trips must be mentally debated carefully before venturing outside with a flashlight, and hopefully with the aid of moonlight.
      Often, an older cousin would wait until I was settled in the outhouse, and start scratching on the walls or howling like a werewolf trying to scare me to pieces. It worked every time. 
     Speaking of my pet peeves, there is something important about teaching your kids never to leave the bathroom without checking to see if the next occupant will run out of paper. It’s a lesson in good etiquette.
     It carries over into adulthood and that “me” thing. What bad manners to leave the next sitter fending for himself. And if he is in the guest bathroom with no clue as to where the spare is kept, well…I ‘ll stop there.
    Frankly, the right type of toilet tissue for your personal hygiene
is as an important a decision as the daily vitamin pills you take. The choices on the store shelves are expansive, and I must say, expensive. Going green? Septic tank worthy? Two ply, or four?
     And who buys one roll at a time unless you are a college student or living by yourself?
      Bulk purchases serve the rest of us quite well, and there is never a threat of running out during a storm or a stomach bug.
    Normally, you can average out how many rolls you need in the bathrooms per week. Try having houseguests for a week. That changes calculations considerably. You stagger at how much toilet paper you go through.
     If you do not live “solo”, you deal with the “under-over” theory on a daily basis. You know what I am talking about—the way the roll is placed in the holder for dispensing.  
     It must all go back to childhood. Did my mother teach me how to put on a roll of paper? Those were the days where you had to squeeze the tissue between the end springs. It was tricky to learn.
      I don’t know where I started putting the roll with it coming “out from under”. Like opposites attract, I got an “over” man to balance my shortcomings.
      I doubt that “under-over” has anything to do with being introverted or extroverted. However, someone has probably written a PhD dissertation on it with a thorough explanation.
     A few years ago I was training a new kitty from the animal shelter. I kept him confined to the guest bathroom with his food and litter for a short period to ease him into a large household space.
     Dickens didn’t take to the little ball I left with him, and he found a better activity—unrolling the toilet paper all over the floor. I gave Dickens high marks in creating his own play toys from what was handy. Fortunately, he didn’t use his new game after he moved into bigger space with more trouble to get himself into.
     If you accidently drop a roll in the toilet, what should you do? My advice is to retrieve it, dry it off and place it in the guest bathroom. Forget all about it—like any other problem, it will get flushed down the pipes all on its own.