When The Toilet Stopped Working

I give very little thought to my toilet. Except when it doesn't do what I need it to do. Which, in the case of Thursday afternoon, was flush.

Oh, come on, I fumed at the handle. It hung insubordinate and indifferent. I don't have time for this.

I poked and prodded under the lid. Tugged a chain. Lifted a stopper. And, after determining the job required a professional's know-how, called my landlord.

Someone'll be over tonight, she said. Until then, dump a quart of water in the bowl to flush it.

I was now giving a lot of thought to my toilet. A lot of indignant, annoyed thought: Why my toilet? Why today? I'm not asking for miracles here. Just flushes. Basic daily life stuff.

That evening, I met a friend for coffee. Managed to bring up my toilet problems twice. Used the cafe bathroom twice. And, walking home, prayed to the patron saint of plumbing more than twice.

As it happened, the plumber had come. He'd plumbed. And he'd left a handle that was ready, willing, able to flush.

Alright, I thought. Taken care of. Now, onto the next thing.

And walking out of the bathroom, my back already turned to the resuscitated toilet, I caught myself: Would it kill me to show some gratitude for a working toilet?

I give all this thought to things when they go wrong. And I give almost no thought to things when they go right.

So, I turned back to the toilet, said thanks to it. Called the plumber, said thanks to him.

And I know it's not a miracle that my toilet now works. It's plumbing.

But there's nothing wrong with appreciating plumbing gone right. Nothing wrong with giving some thought - some good, grateful thought - to all the non-miracles of basic daily life.

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