After a long drive from Augsburg, we finally arrived in Leuven at midnight. Since I was the only one living in Amsterdam among other passengers, I stayed overnight in my friend’s apartment and continued my journey the day after.
Nature called. Fortunately, I was already in the clean and cozy apartment she had been moving in since two weeks ago, with very bright lightning that rarely found in European houses. I asked her permission to go first before she took a shower, since I couldn’t hold it any longer.
It was meant to be a quick ritual, but my stomach made that cranky and grumpy sound before I knew it. I had no choice but to do number two. Though it was a relief to let it all go, the hall of shame was unexpectedly about to start. The flush didn’t work properly. The water pressure was so weak that it could only clear urinated water after the third attempt. And the thingy was still intact and floating.
There was no bucket or big container in the bathroom, living room and kitchen I could fill up with lots of water to alter the broken flush. I started to sweat – first time ever in the middle of chilly winter. Feeling guilty and ashamed at the same time, I’d rather clean up the mess myself than ask for help. Coincidentally, she fell asleep in her room – with the door opened.
It would spread more unpleasant odor and contaminate the water unless I got rid of it. All of the sudden, the (imaginary) bulb over my head turned on. Eureka! Plastic bags found in my suitcase were all I needed!
The only way to liberate me from the disaster was to take over the flush’s job. I went back to the bathroom, squatting in front of the toilet seat, face to face with the floating thingy – undigested food waste coming out from my body – in the bowl. A plastic bag covered my right hand as a hand glove.
I gently took that chocolate cake roll lookalike (less disgusting way to describe the thingy, I hope) with my covered hand out from the water, put it in double-layered plastic bags, made a very tight knot and threw it in the bin. As a final check, I flushed it once more to make sure there was no traces left. Phew!
Next morning, we woke up at 10.30 am and still feeling tired from the trip.
“…..I love it here, but things are still screwed up…….Look, my stuffs scatter everywhere!” She took a deep breath before continuing the next sentence, “I’ve called the plummer to fix the flush but he hasn’t come yet. It’s been a trouble. Oh, by the way, sorry for leaving you earlier yesterday. I fell asleep, just couldn’t help it. What took you so long in the bathroom?”
My guilty feeling disappeared as soon as I heard her complaint. However, if she only knew what I did. I mean, should I say this: “I shit in your toilet and couldn’t flush it, so I picked my own shit (OK, it’s time to be blunt) and throw it in your garbage bin.”?? Bringing the shame to the host who gave me a place to stay was the last thing I wanna do.
“Actually, I was done. But I saw you sleeping and I felt bad to wake you up.” By telling a white lie, I managed to cover up one of the most embarrassing moments of my life as well.
Before leaving the apartment, she sorted paper, glass, plastic waste to the right bags before throwing them away in the public bins downstairs. Then, she grabbed the knotted plastic bag whose shape and color I recognized so well. She looked at it for a little while, considering to which group of waste she had to classify.
I tried not to get panic. Don’t even think to untie it. You’ll be sorry.
Unwillingly to think further, the knotted bag was finally belong to any bag she wished. We took an elevator to the ground floor and toss the trashes accordingly in order not to get fined from Belgian government.
After that, we walked out separately to continue our own activities. I went back to Amsterdam peacefully. Nobody got hurt and ashamed – until now.
It took me 7 years to have guts to reveal this awkward story, now it’s merely for sharing a small part of my life in travel. Nonetheless, I still don’t dare to tell this in person.
>> PS: Images (except the cake) were taken from my second visit to Leuven, the capital of Vlaams-Brabant, when cycling event and flower carpet took place, not on the same day of the incident.