When I moved into the place where I live, I was mostly motivated by location.  I had sat in Dolores Park, and pointed directly at the block where I live.  It’s not on the hill, it’s a quiet side street, and it’s close to everything.  The apartment itself is a beautiful Edwardian with a gourmet kitchen, marble bathroom, and fantastic vintage detail.  The roommates are two gay guys in their 40s and 50s (not together), who are each really nice people who do good things.   We got along, and they let me move in.

There’s a little problem.  I’ve become a bit too much of a hippy to live here comfortably.  There’s no CF bulbs.  The trash gets filled with recyclables.  The lights get left on.  The smallest detail has become the biggest – my housemates love to flush.

My room shares a light-well with the bathroom, meaning that they both face a small vertical tunnel that’s open to the sky above and the basement below.  Sound carries really well, so I frequently get to hear the sounds of the bathroom in my apartment and the two below.  Hearing the gastric distress of various individuals would be fun enough, but the sounds of water going down the drain disturbs me more than anything.

Keep in mind, I’m not the greenest kid on the block.  I try to bring my cups, bags, and bottle with me so I don’t have to use throwaways.  I got rid of my car, and I rely on public transportation.  I vote green, but I’m not militant or perfect by any stretch.  I would love to help my flatmates to change, but I don’t want to try to convert anyone to my beliefs.

There’s a little journal that lives in the kitchen, and it’s used to write notes back and forth – “I took your dog to the park, and he pooped,” or “I’m going out of town for the weekend, see you on Monday” all grace its pages.  Recently I found a new one, “Would whoever is not flushing after urinating please start it is unhygenic and smells disgusting.”

Hmmm.  I first heard the phrase, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” about 12 years ago.  I’ve practiced it on-and-off since then, and as my green awareness has grown, my flushing has diminished.  I don’t want to flush my pee.

I thought about buying 2 gallon jugs of water and putting them on the counter (our toliet is low-flow, thankfully) as a visual statement about the benefits of peeing into drinking water, perhaps with a note that says ‘WE LIVE  IN A DROUGHT STATE’.  I almost wanted to print out some articles about how to conserve water, and quickly realized that printing would be a no-no as well. I have a little guide to “going green” that someone had bought me as a quick-gift, and it’s been untouched on the counter since I left it there.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to find much online in the way of actual facts – I was looking for data on how much water would be saved by flushing only the poop, and not the pee.  Instead I found:

– A video of a little girl crying on the toilet because her brother flushed her pee before she had the chance
– An environmental activist uses the sewage treatment system as an analogy of disconnection and to explain why she doesn’t drink orange juice.
– The Mayor of London says don’t flush if “you’ve only had a pee”.
– A Treehugger post explaining the philosophy of the Selective Flush, but without any good data.

So far no luck… Can I live in a house of non-greenies? Only time will tell. In the mean time, the battle of the flush continues.

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