Rant of the Week: The Unflushed Toilets of Moravian University

Photo courtesy of imageonejanitorial.com

Photo courtesy of imageonejanitorial.com

For the past two years, I’ve been living the life of a commuter at Moravian University. 

Every day, I get out of bed a good half an hour later than I’m supposed to, grab my stuff, and run out of the house. I drive about twenty minutes to school, using one hand to steer my vehicle and the other to feed myself a bagel with the intensity of a competitive food-eating finalist. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get to see the tail-end of one of our shuttles leaving Lot X around the same time I pull in. 

As I’m walking up the hill, trying not to think about how, one day, I’ll inevitably get torn in half by a car going 30 above the speed limit as I cross the street, the digested contents of yesterday’s dinner are moving around inside of me. I figure “I’m already late to class at this point, might as well be a little more late,” and stop in one of the bathrooms on campus. But when I walk inside and open one of the stall doors, I’m greeted by a toilet bowl filled with a yellow-brown stew seasoned with globs of disintegrating toilet paper.

Now, everyone has lapses in memory. One time isn’t a huge deal. But this has happened to me more times than I can actively keep track of. At least once in every building I’ve been in, I’ve stumbled across the unfinished business of another one of our fellow Greyhounds. When I was living on campus during my first semester, there was one occasion in which all three stalls on my floor were unusable due to soupy, biohazardous waste left to float and marinate in the toilets.

I cannot understand why this isn’t seen as a bigger problem. Don’t you understand what this means? 

There are actual people on our campus who enter the bathrooms, poop in the toilets, and then just walk out without flushing, leaving it there for someone else to find, like some Christmas present wrapped in ribbons of toilet paper (or, worse yet, no toilet paper, the implications of which I don’t even wish to consider). 

This isn’t high school, this isn’t a penitentiary, and this isn’t a shopping mall. Everyone here is a full-grown, scholarly adult. There are people taking the same classes as you, who will someday graduate to pursue the same careers you will, that don’t flush the toilet.

This is actually mind-boggling to me. There are only two possible explanations I can conjure up for this, and I honest-to-god don’t know which is worse. 

One is that the people doing this have somehow lived their entire lives up until this point unaware of the fact that, after you’re done using the toilet, you flush it. How does that actually happen? I shudder to think of what the homes of these people look like. Toilets overflowing with at least eighteen years worth of human waste, the resident left wondering what the little lever on the side of the tank is actually for. If you’re reading this, then this is your wake-up call: flush the toilet.

And if that’s not the case, then that would imply that the people doing this know that flushing after dumping is standard protocol, yet they choose not to do it anyway

That’s not ignorance anymore: that’s actual malicious intent. They walk out of that bathroom and sit quietly in their class, fully aware and undisturbed by the fact that they left a couple pounds of feces for another student to find. 

Is it laziness? I cannot think of an easier responsibility to uphold than simply pushing down on a lever. It really makes me question whether or not we, as human beings, will ever be capable of any sort of true autonomy. 

I’d like to imagine that someday, we can return to a world where we don’t have laws and money as our primary motivators, where it’ll just be “I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine.” But when I see things like this, I start to lose hope in my own ideology. If we can’t flush our own excrement, how will we live without cops? Non-flushers are part of what’s holding us back from true freedom. The same people who smugly ask how production will be achieved without financial incentive will ask you, “What incentive do I have to flush my business down the toilet? I don’t stand to gain anything from that.” 

Actually infuriating.

There’s really only a couple other counter-arguments I can think of regarding this:

I don’t want to touch the lever: Failing that the automatic sensors work (which, in my experience, they seem to work too well most of the time, activating while I’m still sitting down and spraying my posterior with freezing cold water) it probably is extremely unsanitary to touch the toilet lever with your bare hands. It’s probably covered with germs, and those germs would probably get on your fingers if you flushed the toilet. If only there was something else you were expected to routinely do after using the bathroom that cleaned your hands of any germs they may have on them. Do I really have to spell it out for you? But who am I kidding? If you’re not the kind of person to flush the toilet, you’re probably not the kind of person to wash your hands, either. Disgusting.

Conservation of water: I get this angle, don’t worry: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” saves a lot of money. We’re on a different level here, though. The works of art I’m finding in this school aren’t yellow or brown, they’re full-blown Pollock paintings: abstract representations of revulsion and neglect. Besides, you’re paying some $30,000 a year to go here, you can afford to be a bit more liberal with the flushing while you’re on campus.

The toilets won’t flush: Yeah, you’ve got me there, actually. That’s a pretty big issue. Moravian, yet again, depriving us of our most essential human right, like working plumbing. If this is why you left your crap in the toilet, then I suppose I can formally forgive you. Hell, I’ll even endorse it at that point: leave it there as a banner of protest, demanding change within the inefficient system we live under. Still, I cannot imagine this is what happens every time. I know damn well that not every single stall on my floor that one year wasn’t working.

I don’t know if I expect the people who do these sorts of things to be the kind of people who read The Comenian. Hell, I never even thought about publishing this as an article until Dom suggested I do it after I went off on him about it during lunch one day.

This is all to say I don’t know if I expect anything to change as a result of this; I just typed this all up in one hour of anger-fueled adrenaline. 

But if you are the kind of person that I’m referring to in this piece, then I implore you to think about what consequences your actions have, at least in regards to this one thing. If you’ve got a point that I didn’t address in this wall of text, I’d be happy to hear it. 

Just please, at least consider flushing next time, okay? We can make the world we live in a better place, and I firmly believe that this is one of the first steps.