I used to carry a wallet instead of a purse. That was before I got all paranoid and girl scout-y worrying that if I were in a plane crash and stranded in the woods like in that book The Hatchet, I couldn’t survive on chapstick and my wallet’s contents. The fact that I rarely fly did nothing to mitigate this fear. Also, I loved that book as a pre-teen.
I traded a co-worker my sensible brown leather wallet for his canvas Velcro wallet covered in skulls. I’m classy like that. And I used that wallet until it disintegrated.
I loved that wallet. So much that I once was at this bar. My favorite bar ever. This bar is in my hometown and is by far the coolest thing there. It has amazing local bands playing every night of the week. And it shares a building with an antique hardware store.
The hardware store has an entire giant wall of working chandeliers and wall sconces. It also has bins of old skeleton keys, crystal doorknobs, hinges, all kinds of interesting parts and hardware. And so many doors and windows that it is kind of overwhelming.
They also lend statues to the bar which they keep in their courtyard. The bar has a beautiful brick paved courtyard with stone tables and benches. There is an outdoor bandshell and large white lights strung across the loquat trees.
I am normally not very comfortable out in public. Let alone in a crowded bar. But this place makes me feel very comfortable. The inside is pretty interestingly decorated as shown below.
One day, before that velcro skull wallet disintegrated, I was at the bar with some friends and had to pee so bad! I drink a lot of water, like more than a gallon a day every day. And I have the bladder of a child. So, I have to pee pretty often.
I went into the bathroom and did my business, flushed the toilet and, as I was pulling up my pants (I normally pull them up before flushing, but I digress) my wallet fell right into the flushing toilet.
Into the toilet. At a bar. A public dirty toilet.
I was in a real dilemma. I loved that wallet. And I really needed pretty much everything in it. But did I need my identity and debit card enough to put my hand in toilet water. I looked at it for a few minutes, watching as everything I loved got soaking wet and soggy.
I sighed. I tried to tell myself that it was no worse than the time I was up to my elbows in maggots. Urine is supposedly sterile. But who am I kidding. It was worse than the maggots, though it smelled a hundred times better.
I pulled the wallet out and washed it vigorously. I washed it five or six times, but I did not feel like it would ever be clean. I finally went back to my friends. I had just started seeing T at this time and he happened to have a ziploc for me to put it in.
I washed the wallet with bleach, which may have contributed to the disintegrating thing. And put the whole sordid experience behind me.
Until a few months later. I was at work using one of our office bathrooms. This time, I followed the natural order of things and pulled up my pants before flushing. Big mistake.
My work phone fell into the unflushed toilet.
These are the kinds of things they should teach you in economics in school. Is the emotional cost of reaching into an unflushed toilet worth more than the financial cost of “losing” your work phone.
These toilets were marginally cleaner than the bar toilet. And I actually knew the people that befouled them on a daily basis. But still. Unflushed.
I steeled myself, reached in, and pulled out the phone. By this point, I didn’t see how it could be any more damaged by getting wet, so I washed it very, very well.
I took it to my administrator and explained to her that I had dropped it in the toilet. She never asked if it was flushed or unflushed, saving me from having to lie. I suspect it never occurred to her that I would stick my hand in an unflushed toilet. I am a well known germ freak.
But what people don’t realize is, I am obsessed with germs. I love them. I am not afraid of them. I am not a germaphobe. I don’t like knowingly exposing myself to germs, but I do, every time I shake hands with someone. Or kiss them. Or touch pretty much anything in the public sphere.
Germs are unavoidable. And sometimes, so is reaching into the toilet to retrieve something valuable.