from the Archive:
Toilet Paper Epic
Thursday, May 05, 2005
I was at Waazubee. Been there? It’s a little different, isn’t it? A little different from chain restaurants (anterooms of hell, that’s what they are; all those people you see sitting on the circus-striped benches in the Red Robin lobby? They’re waiting for Beelzebub, table for three hundred thousand…and he likes to keep them waiting) a little different from greasy spoons (the mayo has chunks of exotic peppers and garlic and some mysterious green-flecky spice that appears to be the same thing my mother used to put in her spaghetti sauce, as it has absolutely no flavour whatsoever; and thank GOD it has all those things, I say, because it is the chunks in the condiments that distinguish a fine dining establishment from a greasy spoon and justify $4.50, as opposed to $1.25 for fries) a little different from Wallpaper-moderne establishments where the sauces are as thin and translucent as the bathroom walls, a little different from pretty much every other place on earth, even Subeez, much to the chagrin of the Subeez management.
Subeez, just outside Yaletown on the way downtown (don’t worry, I’ll get to the TP, this connection lasts ninety minutes!) is Wazubee‘s attempt to become a chain restaurant. That place has had a curse on it since the night it opened, when an insufficiently-secured speaker fell from the 25-foot ceiling onto the head of a partier. When said partier later met the man who’d installed the speaker, she introduced herself as the woman who’d had to go to the hospital because he didn’t know how to install speakers. He looked at her and said, “Yeah, I’m really a DJ.” And that was apparently that. His fiance complained to me about “that woman” bothering him, as if she expected him to say something to her. Well, almost, eh? The fiance then went on to tell me the difference between snorting coke that was laced with flour and coke that was laced with Tide. Apparently, the latter is more hallucinogenic, not to mention hygenic. Another fascinating tidbit to be stored away for horrifying boring people at parties.
Subeez has never taken off; just had parts fall off. They have some nice props, they have some decent art, they have a lovely space, that is completely unsuitable to generating anything other than the vague feeling one is lunching alone in a half-empty art warehouse. It would require at least a hundred and fifty people to bring that space to life, and there are usually between six and fifteen. One of them was Calista Flockhart, or appeared to be. This was back five or more years, and Mary-Kate would have been … eating then, so it couldn’t have been her. The Thing from Hollywood was sitting on the patio wearing a grey hoodie and black flared cotton-lycra yoga pants, just like every other female on the planet that year. But you could tell she was famous, because it was a beautiful, even hot, summer’s day and she had the hood pulled up so far over her face that you could only see the pitch-black aviators, the thin-lipped sharkmouth, pointy chin, and a few strings of the neck. The sleeves were pulled down as if her hands had been lopped off in Sharia court and hung down miserably. Even the large glass of icewater looked self-conscious.
So that’s how it is there. And the food, although prepared from the same recipies as Wazubee‘s, sucks. Or it would, if it had that much life to it. See what I mean about chain restaurants being the waiting rooms for hell? Perhaps that’s why you just don’t see Calista much anymore…not that you ever did see much of her to begin with.
We’re talking about toilet paper. It’s a blog post about toilet paper.
There are three kinds of toilet paper: the kind you buy in the store, like any other normal human being (who doesn’t live in Indonesia, but that’s another story); there’s the kind you get in cheap restaurants, and there’s the kind you get in expensive restaurants, or should.
The kind you get in Wazubee.
But first, let’s look at the normal kind, the store-bought kind. It has perforations. Sometimes it has quilting in the shape of daisies or something. It even used to have coloured pictures like teddies or flowers or Gucci logos, and sometimes be scented with the really awful, toe-curlingly putrid fake strawberry or rose scents that will, till the day I die, remind me of my grandmother’s bathroom. Since they discovered that those additions cause ass cancer, sales have…
It tears along the perforations, even if you’ve turned it “the other way.” You think I’m bad being boring on bathrooms, you should see some of these people with their doctrinaire toilet paper rolling directional dogma crap. Holy mother of god, you get that wrong and it’s as if you’d boiled the children and drowned the puppy in the pool. I mean, you might as well saw through your wrists with the frayed, wretched end of the cardboard roll, you useless piece of shit. I suppose when you die you go directly to a chain restaurant or something. That would definitely explain a lot about the people you see at Earl’s.
Anyway, point being that it tears. And then it … does what toilet paper is supposed to do. And then you flush it away…okay, and then you flush it, and then you flush it again and this time hold the handle down and THIS time it goes away. So it’s sort of the platonic ideal of toilet paper, if you think about it.
Now we look at the second kind of toilet paper. The kind favoured by…Starbucks, for example. First of all, they can’t have just regular toilet paper holders, because that would encourage you to use the toilet paper, as much as you wanted.
Hey, maybe you’re a TP fetishist or whatever; they can’t take that chance, obviously, having been burned by gangs of TP rustlers in the past. So they make it so you can only get three pieces at a time before the spindle snaps it back. Although the perforations on this kind of TP are primarily hypothetical or holographic in nature, in that while they are visible to the naked eye, they have no bearing on where the TP actually tears. But you know it will.
Oh yes, you know it will tear.
Because it has the tensile strength of Jessica Simpson‘s marriage.
So even if they don’t have the Three Sheets and You’re Out dispensers, but rather the Giant Wheel Of TP type that are three feet in diameter, if you hope to obtain TP by pulling on the TP, you’re SOL. You will obtain through this method, approximately one-half inch of ragged-end paper, because if you pull it hard enough to roll the roll, it’s more than the paper can bear. You can tell you’re dealing with this kind of situation when you look beneath the TP dispenser and see something that looks like a very clean mouse’s nest.
Then you get to Wazubee.
The toilet paper there does not merely handle the stress of pulling the roll around. The toilet paper there (it’s East Side toilet paper, of course) is tough, so tough that it bends the wall of the dispenser outward when you try to tear it. If I hadn’t had my Swiss Army knife, god knows what would have happened: I’d have had to fall back on my Indonesian field training or something! But I finally got out of there, although not without storing a large length of the miraculous substance in my handbag. I might just use it for rappelling down cliffs or roping calves or something.