I spent the first two weeks of my quarantine shitting in a portapotty in the parking lot of my building. It wasn't great — but hey, at least it was always stocked with hand sanitizer.
The contractors I'd hired to renovate my bathroom were not so good on timeliness or communication before the pandemic started. And it only got worse from there. So I drove 300 miles in late March where I could at least be with my pregnant wife, and where at least I could shit indoors.
I returned home the other day to find that the bathroom still wasn't finished (though at least I could shower and shit now). Disappointed, I began to unpack my things, and ended up listening to this new NPR Short Wave podcast, which strangely made me feel better. It traces the history of indoor plumbing — including the uphill battle of trying to get people to understand that no, actually, a centralized sewage system will be better for your sanitation, and you shouldn't worry about the shit from other peoples' shit infecting your home. It goes on to explain how things such as porcelain/tiling and first-floor "powder rooms" actually served utilitarian purposes, making it easier for people to distance themselves from potential disease carriers, or clean things off after hosting guests with uncertain medical histories.
To be clear, I'm not sure why this made me feel better about my frustrating bathroom contracting experience. Or the deadly virus that continues to rage just outside my doors. Read the rest
A good toilet paper is hard to find these days, thanks to everyone's totally irrational coronavirus panic buying. But that's not the biggest problem for our butts.
No, worse is that alt-TPs are messing with our septic systems, which makes an even bigger mess for everyone.
My colleague Doug Mahoney has a great new blog post over at Wirecutter that explains why you shouldn't flush anything but toilet paper down your porcelain throne, and also recommends some handy alternatives (and disposal methods) in case you do have a problem finding those cherished rolls of soft white butt scoopers.
Toilet paper is very fragile and is designed to self-destruct in water with very little agitation. Tissues, on the other hand, are made to stand firm against a 100 mph sneeze discharging from your nose. Although the two products might have the same general look and feel, this video shows the difference in their durability. It takes less than 30 seconds of agitation for the toilet paper to be almost completely broken down. The tissue, however, remains fully intact. In plumbing, the bits of toilet paper can speed down the waste lines, but tissues remain big enough to catch on something, contributing to a clog.
Out of Toilet Paper? You Have Other Options. Just Don’t Flush Them! [Doug Mahoney / Wirecutter]
Image: Public Domain via PxHere Read the rest
Reddit user rykahn confirms that there is no lock on the door of the Existential Toilet they chanced across this weekend, where one is always alone yet fully empowered by the cold vastness of the universe. [via CrappyDesign] Read the rest