Speaking of toilets

if it’s yellow if it’s brownWhen I visited Southern California in the mid-eighties, I was bedazzled by my boyfriend’s beachside neighborhood. Tiny stucco houses. Flowering vines crawling weatherworn trellises. Impossibly narrow streets. Sandy restaurants serving fish tacos. Cramped outdoor patios overlooking the ocean — the vast inconceivable Pacific ocean. An exciting vista for a Colorado girl.

As with all lovers’ trysts, the visceral has faded to ephemera, and I am left with only a sense of place and time. However, one tangible relic remains from my visit, and it was recently brought to mind afresh. If it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down. In case you’ve not heard this California incantation, it is a reference to pee and poo, number 1 and number 2, realities that, to my mind, are best left behind stall doors. In any case, they should not be fodder for a state mantra. Drought be damned!

After many years of recklessly rejecting the admonition, I am prepared to pass California wisdom on to my Colorado offspring. Why? The Gazette reported this week that 1/3 of a typical household’s water usage goes to flushing the toilet. 1/3! I have six Kool-aid swilling children so the flushing in our house, reinforced rigidly by prissy mother me, is nonstop.

No more. New rule. If it’s yellow let it mellow; if it’s brown flush it down. I have yet to divine an apt consequence for willful disobedience.

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1 Response to Speaking of toilets

  1. Avatar ohwilleke says:

    According to the East Larimer County (Colorado) Water Association, toilets aren’t quite that bad. About half of household water use goes to landscaping, and about a quarter of indoor water use is for toilets, so flushing is closer to 1/8th of the use portion of your water bill.

    See http://elcowater.org/faqs.shtml

    They actually make toilets that have two flush modes, small for yellow, and large for brown, although I can’t say that I have ever used one.

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