Germs and Toilets

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.

Gary Paulsen is still the shit.


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.


It was basically this in Velcro wallet form.


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.


This isn’t the place, but it is eerily similar.


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.


That’s the stuff.


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.



I know at least 40% of the people in any picture taken in my hometown. It’s a small town.


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.


Yeah… about that…


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.


Want, want, want!

Germs are unavoidable. And sometimes, so is reaching into the toilet to retrieve something valuable.


13 thoughts on “Germs and Toilets

  1. I love the germs! Not real germs, but the teeny beanie baby germs are adorable! I also love the fact that, so often, when I read your posts it jogs a memory for me and, voila! A post of my own comes to mind — this one involving a toilet and an eyeglass lens.

  2. My husband and I went on vacation to Cocoa Beach and we were packing to leave and I accidentally dropped the toothpaste tube (cap on; toilet flushed) into the bowl. It was a brand new tube. I’m thrifty. I retrieved it and we went back to my mom’s house in Gainesville. The next morning my husband comes out of the bathroom all super mad and asks me if this toothpaste tube was the same one that fell into the toilet (I believe I left it there while I did other things and contemplated the “Right Thing To Do”) When I confessed the look on his face could have turned sand into glass. He is STILL mad at me about that – it was 18 years ago. Sidenote: I personally didn’t use the toothpaste after that – that’s just gross it fell in the toilet!

  3. I’m always telling / screaming at my children how we do not take electronic devices near water features. Don’t show me your DS while I’m throwin clothes in the washer, don’t take my phone to the bathroom, and no, I don’t want to hear that new song while I’m in the tubby. It’s not about germs, it’s about replacement cost, lol!

  4. No wonder you love germs. Your germs are adorable and cuddly looking! It’s because of my phone in toilet incident earlier this year that I have the best waterproof phone case. I can drop it in 100 times if I want and it will still work! It’s the little things… 🙂

  5. Germs are good. We rolled around in the mud, got dirty, played in the cold … we all got sick, but we recovered from it. My immune system is actually pretty damn good. Go on. Go shoulder deep into whatever. Haha.

    • As a child with 7 siblings, my immune system got exposed to a lot. Now, I don’t even hug my family let alone eat or drink after them. I think my brother is some Typhoid Mary-esque carrier for Strep. My immune system has grown weak with disuse.

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