Saturday, June 07, 2014

Musings... The toilet overflowed

It's one of the worst nightmares one can imagine, even if you're not very concerned about germs. You do your work, push the lever, the water swirls around, but this time, it doesn't follow the usual sequence of events. Something isn't quite right, you realize. The water level gets higher and higher, almost touching the rim, and your fight or flight response begins to kick in.

A battle not for the weak
Unfortunately, your fate may have been sealed when you pushed the lever. If you're attentive enough, maybe you can pull the lever back up and hope the water stops rising? Maybe you can get a plunger in there and working in record time to clear the drain with minimal splattering?

I think I may have tried pulling the lever back up a few times. Most other times, I stood back, ready to run out of harms way while praying the water stops before it reaches the rim. Worst of all, residential bathroom floors, and everything on them, usually not equipped to handle the deluge of water.

It's everywhere
This nightmare scenario has happened on more than a few occasions to yours truly. Luckily, it's usually a false alarm. The one time it happened, though, was at work. Even worse, I was not liable this time for depositing any large amounts of solid matter into the fixture. This was but a simple liquid deposit with two or three squares of toilet paper into a suspiciously empty toilet -- the water level in the bowl was lower than usual. Yet, somehow, this was the time it happened. I flushed, I opened the stall, walked out to wash my hands, and then begin to hear the unmistakable sound of water spilling out of a container. "It" went everywhere.

In retrospect, the toilet was probably clogged by the last user, which caused the suspiciously low water level in the bowl. This wouldn't be surprising considering the paper towels that certain individuals regularly threw into the toilet. And there was one individual who would use pounds of regular toilet paper, not flush, and just walk away. Floor stains and odors suggested that these overflows were a regular occurrence anyways. The only saving grace was that this was a commercial toilet facility with floor drains and a graded floor.

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