Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo to a randomly drawn winner (International) via rafflecopter during the tour
Coming home from a book signing this past weekend, I was struck by a thought for the zillionth time when I made one last trip to the bathroom before I boarded my plane.
There is a special level of hell reserved for the man who invented the automatic flush toilet.
I mean, really, WHAT were you thinking??? There is a perfectly good handle on the back of non-automatic devices. When users are finished, they push on the lever, and there is an exchange of water.
Yes, occasionally one comes upon the unpleasant phenomenon of the unflushed toilet. In all levels of society, in all public places, there is always that undesirable antisocial element – the ones who cut in lines, who spit their gum on the sidewalk, who leave the shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot, rather than walk the two yards to put it away in the cart corral. Yes, and they failed at potty training when they were three years old. There is a special level of hell for these people, too.
This is not sufficient reason, however, to punish every American who sets foot in an airport by inflicting all of us with automatic flush toilets. It is an insupportable affront to human dignity, the most unspeakable of all public health atrocities.
We know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is a perfect example of that principle. It was a noble attempt to save humanity from the horrors of an unflushed toilet. But- it simply inflicted worse horrors upon us – because they don’t work.
We all know the routine. Walk into a stall – the toilet flushes. Turn around – it flushes again. When it stops spurting water on the backs of your legs, you pull down your pants or heist up your skirt, and sit down, bracing yourself for yet another flush – but this time, it fools you into thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s going to behave now. But then as you actually release the appropriate muscles to urinate, you make the fatal mistake of shifting your posture – a little forward, a little back, a little bit sideways. It doesn’t matter. It flushes again, now spraying your buttocks and possibly the backs of your thighs with a hundred little droplets of water. Some of it, no doubt, is splashes of the very water you were trying to get rid of in the first place.
On a really good day, the accursed thing might get you twice between the time you sit down and when you drop the last bit of toilet paper into the bowl and stand back up.
And now, now the kicker of it all.
Once you actually WANT it to flush, it won’t.
You wave your hand over the sensor, look around for the manual override button. These things usually have a flush button on them somewhere.
Which frequently seems to be broken – no doubt by other people in the same predicament as you are, being forced to use one of these automatic flush toilets.
It’s not fair. You did NOT fail potty training at age 3. You know how to clean up after yourself. But there you are stuck, in a bathroom stall, your flight is now boarding, and your toilet paper is floating around in the bowl while you are powerless to do anything about it. Out of ideas, all you can do is open the stall door and leave.
Some of the time, probably exactly half, the toilet will then flush after you have stepped out of the stall. Oh, thank goodness, you mutter to yourself as you wash your hands.
The other 50% of the time, you have just been relegated by forces beyond your control to the level of people who cut in line, spit gum, and don’t put their shopping carts away. Naturally, you will pass another person going INTO the stall you have just vacated, and for the next several minutes, that person – who just saw your face and could give an accurate description of you to the FBI, or TSA – is going to be thinking that you (oh, the indignity of it!) failed potty training at the age of three.
Such is the “glamorous” life of a writer.
Money. Family. Love. Hate. Obsession. Duty. Politics. Religion – or the lack thereof. Sex — or, once again, the lack thereof.
Thomas Baldwin finds himself married to a woman he can’t stand, while head-over heels in love with another woman he can’t have. Talk about bad planning. He feels like a kite, buffeted by circumstances which blow him not only through personal crises, but also through some of the most significant events in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s, including the railroad riots of 1877, the creation of the Homestead Steel Works, the assassination of President Garfield, and the Johnstown Flood. Over time, and with the help of his muse, who dances maddeningly just beyond his reach, he takes control of his life, wresting it from the winds attempting to control him.
A carefully-researched historical novel about life among the privileged class of Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution.
A soft rumble of thunder sounded in the distance, and they both groaned.
“Just what we need,” Thomas observed. “More water.”
“Well, I suppose thunder doesn’t necessarily mean more rain,” Regina answered hopefully.
A strange black fog began to drift through the air. They froze, staring at each other, listening. The rumble increased like – what? It was a cross between an oncoming train, and – and – Thomas imagined this must be what an avalanche must sound like.
Then he knew what was going on. The South Fork dam had broken!
Before he could share his insight, Regina’s face changed. She stared up Clinton Street, mouth open, eyes wide with horror. She pointed, incoherent noises issuing from her throat. Thomas turned, and nearly fell off their precarious little raft.
The source of the crashing rumble was a towering wall of debris moving toward them. A misty black cloud hung in the air, occasionally obscuring the horrific sight. A writhing mass of tree roots, rooftops, planks, railroad pieces and other metal parts tumbled over and over upon itself.
The rumble had clarified into a roar of screaming and crashing as the rapidly approaching behemoth rolled toward them. They couldn’t outrun it, either on or off their little craft. Regina pointed to the nearest building. The brick corners were coined, laid unevenly enough to make a decent ladder. Thomas understood without a word. They poled their way across the watery distance, desperation giving them strength and speed.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo to a randomly drawn winner (International) via rafflecopter during the tour.
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