Sunday, January 03, 2016

Being Poo Enabled

Image description: A cartoon showing a variety of different ways of unplugging a toilet without a plunger.
I just heard the toilet flush.

What a beautiful sound!

Our toilet stopped working yesterday. It was immune to plungers, prayers and pleading.  I searched the web to find ways to unplug it. We used the sham-poo and hot water method; the baking soda and vinegar method; and the plunger used at tantrum force. Nothing worked.

By the time we were done with all our attempts the toilet was full, nearly to the brim, with kind of a 'poo stew' ... with bubbles. We thought that maybe overnight, miraculously, gravity would take care of our problem for us. Gravity must have had a night off, because when we awoke we lifted the toilet seat to see 'fecal marinadus' to coin a phrase.

So Joe went down to talk to security, as we live in an apartment building, the office was closed. Security said that a clogged toilet isn't seen as an emergency, Joe jumped in there, seeing an opportunity, and said, 'But Dave is in a wheelchair and it isn't easy to find accessible options.' The security guards eyebrows went up and Joe could see that his argument had hit home.

A few minutes later we had the assistant superintendent up here and, as I've said, I just heard the toilet flush.

No music was ever sweeter than that sound.

Joe's feeling a little guilty for playing the disability card. I'm trying to explain to him, that yes we benefited by upgrading the level of concern for the issue, but, he didn't lie. That's what mattered.

Bringing the disability issue into the discussion when necessary, I don't think, is playing the 'disability card' ... I think it's having an issue looked at from a disability perspective

But whatever, we are in a 'poo enabled' environment, and that's all that matters.


Jeannette said...

I think it's not so much "playing the disability card" as it is speaking up, not fading obediently into the woodwork. Good for Joe.
And happy flushing!!

Anonymous said...

since when is an unusable toilet not seen as emergent? We have more then one in my apartment, so if one is broken for some reason we always have the other. But if you don't have one you can access due to disability then I'd say that's a big issue. I have used it too to get things I need and I almost never play that card as it were but sometimes its the only way to get what you need when you need it because it is neeeded.

Tragic Sandwich said...

It depends on the legal standards where you live, but in some of the places I've lived, that would count as "non-habitable." And to my mind, what Joe did was essentially say, "Here's why this situation is not the same as the one you're thinking of." Perfectly appropriate!

emma vanderklift said...

We often (sometimes me more than Norm) play the disability card. Well, maybe not often, but when needed. Because so often our concerns are so far off the radar for so many people that even what I call "the startle response" (ie: raised eyebrows, etc) is a good thing. You can literally see people going "gee, I never thought of that". And when they resent it, which does happen, well, at least they've been challenged.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about that disability card. When we are on the less privileged side of an axis of difference, then any privilege we do have can weigh heavy. I guess our identities do come with cards, like there's a womans card that makes it ok to ask for help with things like opening jars broken cars and feeling unsafe. I'm trying to think what my lesbian card might be, maybe it's not having to drool over fit men and just getting on with my life.
I'm thinking about the several parents tell the that when they ask their sons and daughters with DS to do the dishwasher, have been told 'I can't do that I have DS' (my little one has DS and is 2 so this is wisdom from the wise!). We laugh about it but I guess doing the dishwasher may be something that people with DS experience as more tricky and maybe I should hear that if/when my son tells me he can't do something he has DS. This is not playing a card, it's straightforward communication but it becomes laden when we focus on the identity mentioned instead of the message communicated.
It's not a card, it's a reality?? It's other people obsessively focusing on difference associated with identity that makes it a card??

clairesmum said...

My sense is that 'the disability card" or any other 'category' card is useful when the available options are not feasible or possible - even with some effort - the person holding 'the card' gets to decide how much effort/in what direction...and i think it is different for parents of a young child who must try and do this calculation on the fly, almost all the time.
Needing a loo with rails and room for transfers is NOT something that can be overcome with intention, effort, or hard work. It is also a need that can perhaps be deferred for a time but must be met. So, 'playing the disability" card to get a toilet in your home fixed on a holiday doesn't seem to be taking advantage of anything....tho the fact that that management does not consider a blocked toilet on a non working day to be an emergency gives me pause.
What happens to everyone else in the building? Is there a loo in the lobby? Do you have to ask a neighbor?

(I know that the 'category card' idea is more applicable to tasks than to attitudes, and that barriers are often attitudes not curbstones or stairs, but it is one way to think of it in sorting out multiple factors in a situation. )

Anonymous said...

If it happens again, just buy a metal spring cord, its like a tightly coiled steel wire that's flexible but rigid enough to be forced down a toilet. Or just use a garden hose and force it through.Perhaps blowing through the tube could help dislodge the blockage.

Unknown said...

No, Joe definitely didn’t play a card, that was a huge concern and something that needed to be addressed. He shouldn’t feel guilty at all – it was totally a necessity to bring up. Just as a heads up, drain snakes tend to be the best way to break up clogs, and they can be bought or rented at most hardware stor

Lovella Cushman @ Perfection Plumbing

Wilfred Andrews said...

This is another great blog from a very funny writer! Enjoyed your take on something we all dread- the curse of the blocked toilet. Even those most able bodied of us would be delighted to hear the flush go after someone else stepped in to help out - clearing a blocked loo has to be top of the 'most hated' list of household chores!