Learning From Seinfeld

This is too simple to call it an invention, so I’ll just call it a procedure. Jerry Jerome and I once discussed how cheap water is (he has an outdoor pool that needs filling each spring).

One of my pet peeves is shivering in the shower waiting for the hot water to arrive, not knowing how much longer it would take. Then, one evening, I am standing there thinking of a recent Seinfeld rerun where George was caught peeing in the shower at his fitness club. He is explaining to Elaine that it is okay because the pipes all come together under the floor anyway, but she is not buying any of it. “That’s disgusting,” she says.

That got me thinking, in my bathroom, the sink is here, the toilet is next to it, and the shower next to the toilet. I know the hot water pipe feeds all three in reverse sequence, so running the hot water in the sink should bring the hot water to the shower. Sure enough, that worked.

Then I realized I had many plastic gallon containers that once held tea that I had cut the tops off to form pourable containers. Running the water in a jug, in the sink, I could tell when it was about to run hot, and I could save the water to use for anything, such as watering plants.

The volume in the hot water pipe was a little over a gallon, so I began collecting the water. When the summer drought ended, I had more water than I needed, so I used most of it to flush the toilet. I just poured most of the water in (quickly!), and the toilet flushed as it normally did, but I had to pour in more water to bring up the standing water level. The entire procedure took about 5 quarts (4 quarts to a gallon, remember). If I have no extra water waiting in the containers, or I just don’t feel like taking the trouble, I can always flush as normal with the toilet handle.

Years ago, I replaced the toilets with low-flush ones. My wife was retiring, and somewhere I read a normal person pees 8 times a day. With both of us at home, that would be 16 flushes per day, and at 5 gallons per flush, that would be a lot of slightly polluted water going down the drain. A 1 to 2 gallon low-flush toilet would be worth installing. We have two.

I was a bit afraid to start because the old toilets were as old as the house. I pictured old steel bolts corroded together, but they were brass and were uncorroded. The replacement job was easier than I expected, which almost never happens.

While I was at it, I got elongated toilets. I had read they were more convenient, but no one said why. Then I read they could be straddled. Sure enough, men stand astride the front end, so the point is between their legs, like a urinal. It is clean and comfortable.

So, men stand over the toilet, rather than in front of it, surely better for their wives who usually clean up the drips. I have no idea how women do it, and I don’t want to know.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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