by Isabella Godfrey
I know you've all had this thought. "Seriously? The toilet won't flush? And it just HAD to be today?" Yeah. That might have happened a few times on the Peace Trip. Maybe. Just maybe.
It all started that one fateful day that we left on a bus for D.C. The very first thing that happened on the bus, was that Paul, the bus driver, told us the rules. Of course, he started with rule number two. Not number one. Because that's how we count in English. Rule number two was: You may use the bathroom on this bus. However, if you are a boy, you MAY NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use the toilet standing up (in case of sudden stops). There was instantly this strange picture in my mind of the bus suddenly stopping and the tinkle going all over the place. I was scarred for life.
Oh, and one thing that he forgot to mention was that we WERE NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, supposed to do any Number 2 in the toilet that was on the bus. I really wish that we had learned that earlier. A lot earlier. Seeing that the back of the bus smelled like fish for the last two days of the bus ride.
Our first real toilet related problem was when someone, (we still don’t know who) stepped on the bus toilet seat with muddy shoes. When we were confronted about this problem by Mrs. Hijazi and Paul, nobody even admitted coming onto the bus to do their business. I don't understand that. I mean, how do you forget that you stepped on a toilet seat? And why in the name of cupcakes were they standing on the toilet seat in the first place? Come on people.
The very next day, at Fontainebleau State Park, we had another toilet trial. The pipe was blocked in one of the girls cabins, and the toilet overflowed and flooded the bathroom. Of course, there had happened to be a hole in the wall, and all of the water flowed through the hole and into the bedroom. So they had to clean up all of the water and not use that bathroom for the rest of the night. Not the best first impression.
The next malfunctioning toilet was the next day at Mary's Southern Cooking. The bus was held up for about 15 minutes, because someone CLOGGED THE TOILET. There was a long line of girls waiting to use the toilet, and it just happened to get clogged. It was unclogged pretty quickly, but seriously!?
After all of that, It had to be a TOILET that slowed us down? It was amazing, Mary herself, THE Mary from Mary's Southern Cooking came and unclogged the toilet. And she didn’t even complain about it. We were super relieved when we got to the hotel that night, and all of the toilets worked fine.
Then after arriving in Birmingham, we had been on the bus for 2 hours, and a group of people had to use the toilet. The bus had dropped us off at Kelly Ingram Park, we had just had snack, and a group of girls from our class walked up and asked Mrs. Hijazi where the nearest bathroom was. She didn’t know. We wandered around Birmingham for a while, asking random shop-owners if they had a restroom that we could use, and the majority of them said that there was no public bathroom anywhere near, and that they didn’t even have a bathroom in their space.
So we just kept on wandering, until we came upon someone who said that they knew the owner of a barber shop down the street, and that they had a bathroom. The owner of the barber shop was very nice and let us all use the bathroom, even though there was only one both-gender bathroom with no toilet paper. We all had to use napkins, and we had this long conversation about times that we accidentally flushed random things that were not toilet paper or human waste down the toilet. There were some pretty strange stories.
It was very meaningful to think that we were not in our hometown, and had no idea where a toilet might be in that city. We were in Birmingham, where there had been segregated bathrooms for way too long, and were wandering around trying to find a bathroom for ourselves. I realized that as privileged humans, we take so much for granted, including that there will always be a place for us to do our business.
Even when we finally got to D.C., the toilet problems still followed us. One of the guides, (we're still not sure which one) decided that it was time for us to take pictures with the people from the Embassy! Yay! So all of the people in line to use the bathroom in the Iraqi Embassy had to go outside and take pictures, but afterward, too bad so sad if you were in line for a bathroom, we had to go. So we tried to walk to a Whole Foods, for the people that hadn't had lunch yet, but of course, WE GOT LOST. So we stopped at one of the first restaurants that we found, and there was a bathroom.
One of the best things about arriving at the hotels every night was that there was a guarantee of working toilets in every room. But seriously people, check your toilets. We had enough toilet problems on the trip. We don't need them at home too.
Recipe for Toilet TroubleIngredients:
Toilet Clogging is best served when the owner of the toilet in question is extremely stressed or frustrated.