The Exploding Toilet - 6/4/2011

My daughter used to live in an apartment in Clemmons, North Carolina. I not only hated that residence, I was somewhat afraid of it. I think Anne Frank had a nicer place, even when it was full of Nazis. I know it was all she could afford as a single mom with a young son, but that didn’t make me at ease there during my visits. The management of the apartment complex never fixed anything. Light fixtures that occasionally caught on fire were troubling, but the worst thing for me was the exploding toilet. She actually had two bathrooms, but one of the toilets was permanently disabled as my grandson, Carson, then a toddler had flushed countless toys and clothing items. As a result, anything you attempted to flush was returned to you, immediately and emphatically.

The other toilet functioned, but using it was like a game of Russian roulette. You could use it several times without incident, but once you had been lulled into dropping your guard, it would attack. Sometimes it would work enough times consecutively that I would forget the inevitable flare-up. Then when I least expected it, woosh. I and the novel I was reading (yes I am one of those bathroom readers) would be soaked by ice cold and thankfully clean water. It would continue to shoot torrents of water until I had composed myself enough to reach down and shut off the valve behind the toilet. Every time it detonated, it took my breath away.
Not in a good way. Carly kept a supply of old towels and rags to sop up the couple of inches of water that each episode would flood the floor with. I often wondered if the apartment below received unexpected drippage when these incidents occurred.

I am not sure that it happened to me more often than anyone else because I exceed the recommended weight allowance for this particular model of toilet, or because the apartment hated me and chose to punish me in that manner. Anyway, Carly and Carson have since moved on and the apartment is probably occupied by some other family huddled together in humid darkness, afraid to illuminate or flush.