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.

1 thought on “Speaking of toilets

  1. Avatarohwilleke

    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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