Despite yesterday's heatwave, today was warm but stormy and humid. As I left the hostel and entered the sticky, constant drizzle, I clutched my backpack to my chest. In that kind of weather, every person you pass shares the same kind of dazed, 'can you believe this?' look. I enjoyed the buzz and the walk through the university district.
I had intended to do the Royal Ontario Museum but by the time I had wandered there and had lunch it was after 1pm. I had also eyed a 4pm IMAX showing of The Dark Knight Rises, having seen it back in Amsterdam in a less-than-ideal environment, with subtitles, poor screen and a ten minute interval. When I asked at the counter about how much time I'd need, she advised that it wasn't worth trying to fit it in before the film, so I left with the intention to return tomorrow.
Instead, I decided I ought to head downtown to where the theatre was and browse the city centre for a bit, having really only skirted the edges on my big trek yesterday. I found what seemed like it should be a mall but spent more time trying to work out how to get into it (you had to pass through a department store that looked entirely separate) than I did actually inside. Then I bought the tickets, had afternoon tea and it was time for the film. It was a better experience the second time, with the picture quality of the IMAX being truly staggering. It made the regular film sections seem fuzzy and low quality in comparison. It's still a movie with many problems, but hits good emotional beats despite the plot holes. Worth it.
It was basically dinner time when the film ended, so I made my way to an Indian place and was seated quite close to a table of three girls. They were having a really painful discussion to overhear, talking loudly about how someone else they knew had weird opinions. They were saying that when people join the army they rightfully sacrifice their freedom of speech and they shouldn't be able to complain about oppression on the grounds of sexuality or whatever. Then they got into semantics about whether there was a difference between being called 'stupid' and 'ignorant' and that bogged them down for fifteen minutes. It was at times interesting, but mostly infuriating and I was itching to join in.
When I got back - and here the blog post hits the gutter - I had to use the bathroom. Someone had left toilet paper in the bottom but I didn't think much of it. When I was done, I hit the lever. Gurgle. Nothing drained, but the bowl filled to two thirds capacity. It was blocked. I jabbed at it with a toilet brush. It stirred up the contents but didn't look hopeful. I should have gone for a plunger then, but I didn't. Someone tried the door handle. It was embarrassing, but it wasn't my fault. I hadn't overpapered. I raced through the options. The brush wasn't working. I had little else to use... but... could I use my hand? There was a sink and shower right next to it... No. Not worth it. Someone tried the handle again.
I made a disastrous decision. I decided, having jabbed a bit more, that perhaps I had loosened enough for another flush to have the suction to clear it. It was risky. I pressed the button. Gurgle. Fuck. The bowl still wasn't clearing and now it was in the refill stage with an already quite full basin. I watched in horror as the water level rose, and rose, and rose. It didn't stop. There was no overflow valve, no special drain that would keep it at bay. The water went right up to the top and then kept coming, bringing all of the contents with it, sloshing all over the bathroom floor.
You know that scene in the romcom where he's in his date's house and the same thing happens? In real life, it is HORRIFYING. I was standing in my own shit water. Again, not to get too graphic, but I had just had Indian. I lunged for the cup that the toilet brush sits in and used it to scoop out of the bowl and into the drain. I considered every option. Could I walk away? No. The guy was outside. Fire alarms? Not in the bathroom. Use towels to mop up? What do I do with them afterwards, with the toilet still blocked too?
And then, once I had done my best to clear up as much as I could, I admitted defeat. I opened the door and told the guy that the toilet had blocked and it was a fucking disaster area. He nodded and went back to his room. Then I had the walk of shame downstairs to the reception to ask for a mop and plunger. She looked at me the same way I look at a parent who says their kid just vomited in the aisle.
I tried to do most of it. The plunger worked after the fourth go and it all drained away. We mopped up the mess and sprayed the place down. I apologised roughly seventy times but I'm confident she still thinks I caused it. It was objectively hilarious and I'm laughing now, but fuck, in the moment it was just about the worst possible scenario. I was not expecting the night to end with me trapped in a room and standing in my own faeces slurry. I suppose that's the fun of travel.