Fucking British Plumbing

My husband and I have lived in our London flat for over two months now. It’s not a bad flat. We live on the ground floor of a three-story Victorian terrace house that has been spilt up for two flats. My husband’s chief complaint with our flat, other than the asshole floor stomping neighbors living in the two floors above us (and that’s a whole other post), has been the plumbing in our bathroom. Several times I have come home to my husband delivering a warning about the bathroom, and how everything hadn’t exactly flushed down the toilet. I hadn’t had a problem with the toilet, only him. Which of course, left him open to a little hazing from his wife about the matter. I’m not going to lie, it has been fun to tease him about it.

So the other day, I get payback big-time. During a break between classes, I ran down stairs and went to the restroom (all the restrooms are downstairs in our school). I had only expected to take a quick pee, but nature had other plans. I finished doing my business and went to flush the toilet, and not much happened. All the toilets, in all the restrooms of our school, have the worst water pressure, but this particular toilet was worse than normal. I flushed and not everything went down. Just fucking great. It’s not like I have some other place to be, and of course I wasn’t alone in the bathroom as other students were on break and were making the same pit stops, so it’s not like I could make a clean getaway.

I could hear other students outside the stall, laughing and talking, about what, I had no idea, because all I could fixate on was the floating turd that wouldn’t flush down the toilet. As much as I wanted to flush the toilet again, I could hear the slow trickle of water filling the tank. It was taking forever. Fuuuuuck! I mean it was painful how slow this toilet was filling. So I’m standing there in the stall not wanting to leave, as I didn’t want anyone to walk into this stall and see a floating turd in the toilet and think “what an asshole Amy, nice going”.

I stood there, like an idiot, waiting for the toilet tank to fill up so I could have the opportunity to flush again. Finally, the sound of pouring water ceases and I reach for the handle and give it a nice firm thrust downward. I stare at the toilet and quickly realize that there is no fucking way that’s enough water pressure to flush this turd down the toilet. Have I already said fuck!? FUCK! Thank God, I hear the other ladies outside the stalls finishing washing up and leave. I’m alone. I can leave. I open the stall door and head to the sink farthest from the stall I was in, and start casually washing my hands as if nothing has happened.

I’m so close to leaving, when in walks another student, whom I know. I don’t look up, and I don’t make eye contact. Please just ignore me casually washing my hands over here. Of course, OF COURSE, she walks into the stall I just left. I can hear her shut and latch the door, and I just go about drying my hands in the Dyson, because to run out now with wet hands would somehow confess my guilt. I’m so embarrassed over a defective toilet and I don’t even know why. I mean isn’t that what toilets are for? To shit in? Why am I embarrassed for using a toilet exactly in the way a toilet is designed to be used and then I feel awkward because said toilet failed me? What is my problem? I shrug it off, because I’ve got other places to be.

You would think that would be the end of my restroom adventures for the day, but no. After my classes at school, my classmates and I had to attend a theatre performance across town. Despite Tube delays, we get there on-time and settle in for a three-hour show. So afterwards, I use their restrooms. Again, I think I’m going to just pee, but my body has other plans. So yep, you guessed it, I go to flush the toilet, and again, NOTHING FUCKING HAPPENS. I mean seriously!? What is up with this town’s toilets? And of course, the restroom is packed because the theatre just got done with a Shakespeare production, and every woman has to come into this tiny London bathroom and relieve their bladder. And does this toilet tank fill quickly? No. Why the fuck would a toilet do what it’s designed to do in this town? It’s an exact repeat of this morning’s fiasco. It slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly fills. And I stand in a bathroom stall questioning all the choices in my life today.

I can hear a gaggle of girls by the sink laughing and doing their make-up in front of the mirror, and my toilet is taking forever to fill. Finally, the toilet has stopped filling, and again I firmly thrust down the toilet handle, like that’s going to make a fucking difference on whether or not this toilet will flush properly. But I fruitlessly attempt it anyway, and again, I’m met with nothing but disappointment. A lone turd still floats and I’m standing in a restroom stall, wondering why I even fucking bothered to get out of bed today. So I’m not even going to bother trying flushing this piece of shit down the toilet again. But I admit, that I also didn’t leave the stall until the restroom cleared out. Yeah, I know. Coward.

I head home on the Tube, alone with my thoughts, and I’m beating myself up over the fact that twice today I hung out in a restroom stall afraid to leave, embarrassed by the fact that I took a shit, and a toilet wouldn’t do what the fuck it was designed to do. Why the fuck am I embarrassed about this? I’m not sure why I didn’t walk out of the stall and tell the person waiting for the stall, that the toilet is total rubbish and they can’t use it. Then wash my hands and move the fuck on. Am I afraid of poo shaming? Did I seriously just hang out in two restroom stalls today and wait for people to leave so that I could leave? What the fuck is my deal? Today was shit in every way, and I blame my daft behavior on the cold I’m fighting and the sinus pressure in my head. <sigh>

On a good note back home, we figured out that the tank lid wasn’t fully seated on the tank, because the handmade box built around the base of the toilet that hides the pipes, and doubles as extra counter space, was lifting it up slightly. The flushing button on the top of the tank wasn’t making full contact with the flush valve, thus only giving us half the flushing power. We made an adjustment and now the toilet flushes like a champ and the husband hasn’t had any more problem. My problems however are still a work in progress…