Andy Broennimann'sToiletWednesday, December 28, 2016
Andy Broennimman, a Swiss-born young man of around 17, went to visit his father in Basel sometime in 1976. His father was a retired Nestle executive. He had been the general manager in Mexico in the late 60s and early 70s.
Andy decided he had to go where the king goes alone. When he was through with his business he could not find any toilet paper. He shouted to his father about the missing paper. His father answered, “Push the button on the right hand side.” That was Andy’s discovery of a brand new Swiss innovation.
Andy had been one of my best students, in the early 70s in a Mexico City high school for wealthy American and foreign children of executives. When we moved to Vancouver in 1975 I was most surprised a couple of years later that Andy was studying at the University of British Columbia. He came to visit in his bicycle but I warned him that he would need bicycle chains if he wanted to cycle in the terrible Vancouver winters. He believed me and asked for the items at a bicycle shop. When winter came he took a trolley bus to the loop at Lougheed/Broadway and Boundary Road. From our house in Burnaby on Springer Avenue I would pick him up for dinner at home.
Andy soon decided to become independent and bought a motorcycle. My youngest daughter Hilary who was around 7 loved to ride in his bike but Andy would only take her for a block or two as he did not have a helmet for her.
After Andy finished at UBC I never saw him again except for a postcard he sent me from Cairo.
I remembered him almost a year ago when I noticed that our Kitsilano duplex had one of those toilets.
I have refused to learn how to use it and I have insisted with Rosemary that we always have toilet paper handy.
Because of my ripe, old age of 74 and in spite of a recent “prostate reaming job” which was supposed to fix the problem I find that I must get up two or three times during the night.
|Andy and Hilary on Springer Avenue circa 1978|
Pressure is not up to snuff and I have discovered that to be manly and stand up for things to happen is stupid. So I have found that the female way of sitting down is much more comfortable. Once the spigot has done it’s slow release I go back to bed. For all these months when we sit on the toilet, it makes a running water swish noise for a few seconds. It doesn’t bother me and I have learned to appreciate how the toilet seat gently comes down most silently.
It was a couple of weeks ago when things changed for the worse. I have a feeling that our 14-year-old granddaughter Lauren has been experimenting. In the middle of the night I found that the running water noise did not stop and suddenly I (to be precise, my bottom) was sprayed by warm water and then a jet of hot air followed. I was so shocked that I shouted at a sleeping Rosemary about the surprising activity. After a few nights of this I decided to unplug the unit. To my unpleasant surprise, I noticed that the seat was ice cold in the middle of my visits-to-the bathroom nights. It would seem that the wondrous toilet has a heated seat.
Since all the above happened I managed to find a stop button and the toilet is now not volunteering any help and I am happy again. I will keep my fingers crossed.