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A Flushingly Fun Morning

This morning has been ‘in the toilet.’ Ugh.

Once my daughter got in the shuttle headed for Charles de Gaulle airport (and ultimately New York City) after a good three weeks at home in Paris, it started with a big fat ‘flush.’ Two mobile telephones (the old SFR and the new Freemobile) rang off the hook. First, the sanibroyeur in “Le Parisol” was malfunctioning. Then a friend’s “john” (also a sanibroyeur) was so stopped up the water was coming up through the shower drain. Ugh.

4-4-12sanitop4-4-12Cabinets-inodores-5-centiémes-18714-4-12Vespasienne jardin de la Bourse 18764-4-12 pissoir by Michelle Young4-4-12 paris toilet

A sanibroyeur is a macerating toilet that uses a pump and electricity to grind the (excuse my French) ‘merde’ in place of a ‘real’ toilet. The reason they even exist is to be able to have such facilities in a space that does not have a proper sanitation pipe which is much larger than the average water pipe. “Le Parisol” is the “studette” adjacent to “La Paris Plage” that is rented as a second bedroom and is equipped with a sanibroyeur so that the renter need not disturb the others in the main apartment. The main manufacturer is a company called SFA with locations worldwide.

Sanibroyeurs are delicate beings. Put anything into them other than the usual “papier de toilette” and what you get is what I got — a big mess and a big bill. No matter how many signs we put up in the apartments that have these lovely creatures, no matter how many times we tell our guests not to put anything in of any ‘substance,’ they still don’t listen and think it’s a joke.

No joke. This time, the plumber came up with a condom. Somebody got lucky, but it wasn’t me. The motor was so mangled, that the entire unit had to be replaced to the tune of more than 700€. Ugh.

My plumber is a rare creature. His name is Cohen — normally a name for a doctor, lawyer or accountant, but in France a “Kohen,” or “Jewish priest,” can perform all sorts of feats. In this case, he’s the smartest plumber I’ve ever known. He can figure out any tough plumbing problem. He’s also expensive, but worth it. I don’t negotiate with him (“Christian him down”) and he takes care of me like a queen.

So, when I asked politely if he would take care of friends across town, he said, “Bien sûr, Madame Leeds” and then noted that he was familiar with the street on which my friends live, he knew the “guardiennes” and a whole host of merchants on their block. It’s a small world. Cohen is a small man, but only in height, not in personality.

Fortunately for all of us, Paris provides public toilets that are clean and efficient. I tested one recently with my daughter and found the experience not at all unpleasant. There are more than 400 of them in the city, heated and equipped with motion sensors and accessible to wheelchairs. Just look for the large, grey, cylindrical booths sporting signs that read “Toilettes – Entree Gratuite.” For a list and to learn more, visit Public Toilets in Paris.

At 2 p.m. today I heard that my friend’s toilet will not be flushingly happy either until it is replaced and must come out of the tiled wall, too. Those renters will be finding new accommodations until Cohen can make the repair, but fortunately the guest a Le Parisol is a happier fellow, now that the condom is out and the new ‘sani’ is in.

All this in anticipation of Passover and Easter on the horizon…happy holidays!

A la prochaine…

adrian toiletAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. In Paris and looking for Matzot? You’ll find it in any grocery store in Le Marais for sure. For the rest — gefilte fish, horseradish, etc., head to rue des Rosiers, 4th arrondissement before sundown on Friday! To attend a Seder (traditional Passover meal) in Paris, join Kehilat Gesher and the Cjl for a community celebration at 10-14 rue Moufle, Paris 75011 or join Chabad of Champs Elysées for a meaningful Seder that you can follow Friday, April 6th and Saturday, April 7th 2012, 8:50 p.m.

P.P.S. I’m off to Normandy for the holiday weekend, but we’ll be back in town and back in business with “Parler Paris Après Midi” Tuesday, April 10th when Kristin Shannon and Antonio Meza of PSI Communications teaches us how to “Make friends with your multiple minds!” It’s free and it’s fun! Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.

P.P.P.S. Parler Parlor is closed this coming Saturday for the holidays. Reopening the following Tuesday…so plan on being there!


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