There is a drain in the floor of my bathroom. When I sit on the toilet, I can’t resist leaning forward to look down it. There is water in it. Sometimes the water is gurgling, though no other pipes in our apartment are in use. Sometimes the water has a thick foul smelling scum floating on top of it. I flush the toilet to see if the water reacts to the sewer efflux. No. It just sits there. I run the bath tub. The water in the drain gurgles and I think that might wash away the smell, but the floating scum remains undisturbed. I run the sink and the shower. The water gurgles, but the scum remains. I pour bleach and perfumed oils down the drain. Now the scum smells like freshly scrubbed sandalwood.
Some days, when I get home from work the scum isn’t there. I contemplate where it went and why it decided to leave on this particular occasion. Is it in someone else’s drain? I kind of miss it. It comes back in a few days, and then I wonder why I thought of it with any sort of affection.
Sometimes I use Kevin’s bathroom. There is scum in his drain too, but it doesn’t have as much personality. It hardly ever has frothy lumps in it like mine. I once went to a town called Drain in Oregon. It didn’t have that much personality either, but it wasn’t especially scummy. But then again, it had a river and a Union 76 station.
I guess a drain in the floor is a good idea, since there is no overflow drain in the bathtub. I feel compelled to clean the bathroom with a high pressure hose and just let everything run down the floor drain, all that dust and soap residue, swirling away in clockwise direction – a phenomenon that really isn’t as interesting as it seems it would be from the perspective of the Northern hemisphere.