Toilet-gate, possibly the biggest contretemps to rock my neighbourhood, is now history.
I recently wrote about how three toilets were deposited on a curb close to our house. Poking up from the bowl of each was a sign that said “free.”
This, to me, seemed a new wrinkle — and possibly a new low — in the now de rigueur practice of leaving free stuff on the street.
It also made me wonder what mysterious events led to someone giving away three toilets simultaneously. Was there some incredible sale on toilets, prompting a homeowner to install new ones throughout his home in one fell swoop? And then had this person, in a fit of magnanimity, deposited his used (but still serviceable) devices on the street for the benefit of others?
Several days ago, while walking my dog, a car slowed beside me. A smiling older woman rolled down her window. Must need directions, I thought.
“I probably shouldn’t be stopping in the middle of the road,” she said. “But those toilets. That’s absolutely priceless!”
And then she drove off.
Obviously, this toilet thing was becoming talk of the town. Soon after, I received an email from a person who lives in proximity to the three toilets. She said they are not, in fact, the property of the homeowner who resides on the corner.
She added: “These toilets were ‘dropped off’ in the darkness of the night.”
In the darkness of the night! I imagined a gang of Russians donning black balaclavas on the stroke of midnight. “It’s ‘go’ time,” they’d mutter, downing vodka shots and synchronizing their watches. Then they’d drop off their toilets, laughing as they sped off in a GAZ-67 jeep.
Last week, I drove by the toilets to see how they were doing. Imagine my surprise — the toilets had disappeared.
Acting on a tip, I emailed Dave McCara, Saanich’s manager of solid waste.
“Good morning, Adrian,” responded Mr. McCara. “I believe one of our road crews collected and disposed of them.”
My feelings? Mixed. In strictly esthetic terms, the toilets were a blight on our neighbourhood. On the other hand, one could not help but miss them — in the same way one misses annoying houseguests after they vamoose.
Another informant told me they’d witnessed teenage girls photographing one another on the toilets, with each assuming a seated position. So in a way, the toilets had brought a sense of community to our neighbourhood. Perhaps they had potential to become a tourist attraction, in the manner of the Mr. PG statue in Prince George.
And now … gone.
I received some funny emails in response to the toilet situation. V. Jean Smith recalled the time she and her husband helped her parents move. Outside, they’d left items for which they had no use, including a “decent old toilet.” Later, looking out the kitchen window, they noticed a fellow manhandling this very same toilet into the back of his truck.
Jean’s husband, remembering the toilet lacked some essential part (perhaps the handle!), sprinted outside, waving the missing component in his hand. However, the fellow with the toilet in the truck misinterpreted this ambiguous action and drove off at top speed.
Mary Dowds wrote to suggest a clever way to get rid of undesirable items. A friend’s neighbour once attached a “free” sign to an unwanted piece of furniture and placed it on the curb. For days it sat with no takers. So the fellow took a different tack. He wrote “$100” on a new sign, and affixed it to the furniture.
Within an hour, it had vanished.
Perhaps you need a free toilet and wish you’d picked up one from my neighbourhood. Here’s a tip. Check out the free sections of Craigslist and UsedVictoria. I saw plenty of desirable biffies on offer. One ad was headlined “Come and get this toilet.”
Also in the free column, an apprentice tattoo artist was looking for people to practise on.
He included a sample tattoo, showing a butterfly with a skull for a head.
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