I was lucky enough to get to spend part of this week in San Francisco for work. (Yes, I know, my life is so difficult.) Though I’ve never lived in SF or otherwise spent a great deal of time in the Bay Area, I’ve somehow ended up with a disproportionate number of friends there. So when I decided I didn’t want to pay for a hotel, I started asking around in hopes that one of them would have an empty sofa. I ended up staying with a friend I’d first met back in my Boy Scout days. I hadn’t really spent time with her since we both worked a camp in Idyllwild, California, in 2006. Six years is a long time, and I was looking forward to catching up with her a bit.
I got in very late Wednesday evening. She picked me up and drove me to her house, where we talked (quietly, as her sister was asleep upstairs) until neither of us could finish a sentence without yawning. She pointed me to the downstairs bathroom and bid me good evening.
Half asleep, cold, and with a racehorse-like need to pee, I slipped into the bathroom to change into my PJs. My jeans jangled as I unbuttoned them.
Oh, right, I put a bunch of change in my pocket earlier.
I folded the jeans carefully so the coins wouldn’t fall out of the pocket and clang noisily.
Shh, Michelle is sleeping, I thought to myself.
The toilet flush was weird and muffled, as if there wasn’t enough water pressure. I continued my boring bedtime ritual, ignoring the whoosh of water. Brush teeth, comb hair, wash face.
Hmm, toilet’s still running.
Tiptoe out to sofa, arrange blankets and pillows.
It really should have stopped by now.
Sneak back to bathroom to remove dirty clothes and toiletries.
Geeze, that thing is kind of loud. I should fix this.
It had been about eight minutes by this time, and I didn’t feel right just leaving it running. So carefully, slowly, and ever so quietly I removed the porcelain top of the tank.
I used to know how to do this…
I flushed the toilet again, hoping it would just fix itself. It was incredibly loud with the lid off. I shushed it. It didn’t help.
It also continued running. I started poking levers, trying to remember which one controlled what. There aren’t that many parts in a toilet, and finally I popped the right thing. Instant silence. I replaced the lid with the grace of winter’s first snow, making no more noise than a butterfly kiss. Triumphantly, I grabbed the toiletries and clothes I had originally returned to remove, sending several dollars in change rattling like tambourines against the hard tile floor.