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June 8th, 2003

Toilet Machine (or, Washing Toilet)

There was a separate, outdoor-accessible washing facility at my old apartment building. It forced me to go outside even in Chicago’s cold winters, but I did so because clean laundry is very very important.

One day I entered the normally-vacant laundry room to find three kids sitting and talking. One had an enormous black mohawk; one had torn jeans, a cut leather jacket, and a red-and-white striped shirt; the other had piercings and only piercings. I said, simply, “Hey” to them to acknowledge their presence as I loaded my clothes in the washing machine.

I returned to my apartment. An hour later I came back to find an odd odor in the room. I opened up my machine and found almost all of my clothes just sitting there, damp, waiting for the dryer. But that smell! What was it? Where was it coming from?

I opened the washing machine next to mine, and had my answer.

I also found that one article of my clothing was used as… toilet paper.

So what did I do? I emailed the landlords, of course; these also happened to be the most lackluster landlords in the world. That was the one and only time, until now, that I got to type the sentence: “There is human feces in one of the washing machines.” I got an email reply two hours later, sent as HTML, with giant red letters asking what happened and the like.

Then I found it odd that yesterday, while listening to This American Life, the editor of Found Magazine spoke of a hand-written note telling people not to defecate in washing machines! I was surpirsed and scared. Is this something that people do?

If so, it makes me glad that our current set is shared only with our landlords.

Posted in Toilets

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