Two tinkles to a flush?

26 Jul

My father is an ardent environmentalist, so I grew up accepting certain practices as normal, only to discover as an adult that most people do not, in fact, live that way. I’ve been away from home long enough that when I do go back, I am guiltily reminded of how far off the farm I’ve wandered.

I was on the back porch of my parents’ home in Michigan this last week, eating dinner with them, when the phone rang. My mom took the call and it was one of her fellow members from Garden Club. They talked for a surprising length of time since my mom is not a phone person, but even more surprising was what they talked about.

“Two tinkles to a flush,” I heard her proclaim. “That’s the only rule!”

What the hell could possess my mom to advise an arm’s length acquaintance as to her bathroom environmentalism? Of all the things my parents do in the name of environmental protection (including no dishwasher, no air conditioning, no electric garage openers, no cable television, no garbage disposal, composting all kitchen scraps, three-minute showers, four squares of toilet paper, etc.), this is the one area where I find it nearly impossible to follow their lead.

For starters, I’m a clean freak. My mom is too, so I can’t imagine how many years it took for my dad to persuade her not to routinely flush the toilet after peeing. The idea of walking into a bathroom to see a bowl of urine makes my stomach turn. And then, of course, there is the smell.

Pee might smell just fine if you gulp water all day, but if you have one stalk of asparagus or one cup of coffee, it pretty much smells like a horse sneaked in and pissed in your bathroom. I’m all for saving the environment, but I’d rather lop off another sixty seconds from my shower regimen than have to refrain from flushing.

In fact, it makes me want to call bullshit on all the people who allegedly subscribed to the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” approach in the 1970s. Because if you actually follow that advice, you know that there is nothing mellow about a full assault on your olfactory sensors.

I’m all for the environment, but I think I’ll have to find another way to conserve water. Maybe I’ll just stop drinking it.

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