© Another Day in the Country
Several times I’ve tried installing a calendar in my bathroom — just to be cognizant, after retirement, what day of the week and which part of the month it is. When one no longer is a 9-to-5 working person, one day seems to melt into another with a certain amount of sameness.
However, calendars in the bathroom didn’t really catch on with me. Evidently, I wasn’t paying attention to them. I removed one from the wall just this week, and it hadn’t been turned to a new month since August. So even though it was little and cute and came from John’s Auto Repair, whose number is emblazoned on the top, I hadn’t been looking at it.
I have John’s calendars in my Grandma car and in Tim’s old truck and regularly use them to help keep everything old running like new. In calendar use, it’s location that seems to matter most. I mean, why not? That’s the real estate mantra: location, location, location!
Still, there is a calendar of sorts in my bathroom. You’ll never guess what it is. Ready? It’s the toilet paper roll.
Whenever the toilet paper roll needs changing, I know it’s Tuesday. Of course, this type of calendar has its limitations, telling you only the day of the week, not where you are in the regular 365-day cycle. But it’s useful information.
On Tuesday, I drive to Abilene to exercise, take books back to the library, and get a 5% senior discount at a food store. When I see that the toilet paper roll needs changing and check my posh, elitist calendar — really my telephone — to make sure the TP calendar is working, it’s always right on schedule: Tuesday.
Changing the toilet paper rolls makes me smile — another benefit at the start of a new day. It’s more a humorous grin really, just getting a kick out of the silliness of knowing it’s Tuesday because of the toilet paper roll.
My grandson informed me that he had a theory about toilet paper rolls.
“They always run out when I’m in the bathroom,” he said. “So, I’m the one always changing out the roll.”
“Suffer, suffer,” I teased. “It isn’t like you have to reach far, poor child!”
His mother has one of those fancy, free-standing contraptions with the toilet roll on top and three extra rolls stored right beneath it. You’re in real trouble only when all the extras are gone, too.
Of course, he might have a point because I notice we go through a lot of toilet paper when I’m there visiting — three of us using one hall bathroom.
I thought I was the only one who ended up regularly changing the toilet paper roll, but he was sure he was.
“We’re using a lot of toilet paper!” I said, restarting the conversation.
“I’ve been on a campaign trying to get you to use less,” he reminded me. “No one should need more than six squares,” was his theory.
I noticed the phenomena of my toilet paper calendar when the pandemic began. In a time of toilet-paper hoarding, I was checking how much toilet paper I actually used. Thanks to my father, who vowed never to be short of necessities like toilet paper in his lifetime, I’ve made it a habit to keep an extra supply in the pantry. So I didn’t really go out and buy more toilet paper when COVID hit. I actually felt rather smug about not needing to add my bit to the toilet paper frenzy that ensued. I just let the masses scramble for toilet paper and steered clear.
“How much does one person really need?” I asked my sister. “I have 12 rolls.”
I knew because I’d counted them. And that was when I decided I should keep track of usage. I didn’t want to be foolish. I didn’t want to run out, either.
Toilet paper isn’t usually something one talks about in polite conversation. “How much toilet paper do you use?” It’s really not all that important to know the rate of one’s consumption, but maybe, just maybe, that’s another area where I’m being extravagant — even wasteful.
Some Tuesdays, perusing the aisles of the food store, I’d wheel by empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle — not buying, just checking the availability, seeing only single rolls available for sale when you knew they’d come in multiple-roll packaging. What was this world coming to?
I’ve vowed to be more frugal with all paper products that were in short supply last year — toilet paper, paper towels, napkins.
It’s another day in the country, and here’s the funny part: I’m typing away and suddenly realize this isn’t Tuesday — it’s really Wednesday! I already did all those things in Abilene yesterday, on Tuesday! But the good news is, my goal of being less flamboyant with toilet paper usage is working because the roll lasted a whole day longer.