When you live with six other people there is bound to be some unpleasantness in the bathrooms — the multi-coloured magical pube carpet that forms if one is not vigilant about sweeping; the girl downstairs that doesn't wait around if her handiwork needs a second flush.
Earlier this year civil war broke out when a flatmate insisted on blowing her nose while in the shower. Every morning at 6.45 on the dot I'd be awoken by the godawful sound of crusty things being prised loose from nostril walls then propelled into the public domain by a torrent o' snot, no doubt hitting the tiles and annointing the shower curtains. It was so loud you could hear it downstairs in laundry with the washing machine on.
My sister is a woman of action, and following the Multiple Occupancy Code of Practice, she took the appropriate form of action: she wrote a note.
In an ideal world, seven people living together would communicate. Perhaps there'd be a monthly meeting in which to air petty grievances before they escalated. But no, if you're not happy with the state of the kitchen, you bang a lot of pots and pans around at midnight and slam some doors then dash off a quick letter.
There's been notes about the back door being left open, the bin not being emptied, and Ancient Relics of the Refrigerator. I have noticed that the following items have been in the fridge for some time and are taking up valuable space. One tub of Utterly Butterly, one jar kalamata olives (half empty), three Laughing Cow cheese triangles, one bottle of Corona beer… [and so on for twelve paragraphs] You have until September 18 to identify these items as your own by simply initialling on the list below
September 18 arrived and noone had laid claim to the mould-encrusted delights. Instead of chucking out the offending items, the UN Chief Weapons Inspector edited her note: I have extended the deadline for one (1) week but if I see no evidence of ownership I will take further action.
Rhi and I resisted the urge to write SWEET FLAMING CHRIST ON A BIKE, JUST THROW IT ALL OUT, YOU DICKHEAD! Instead, we removed the stuff ourselves, pointedly banged some pots and pans about whilst yelling, "SWEET FLAMING CHRIST ON A BIKE, WITNESS HOW EASY IT IS TO THROW IT ALL OUT, YOU DICKHEAD!" Then I nicked the bottle of Corona.
Anyway, Rhi's note on the bathroom door was a masterpiece. She wasn't about to publically shame the culprit, she gave them opportunity to quietly cease their disgusting behaviour. But in response we found the note shredded in the bottom of the bin and (perhaps not uncoincidentally) they moved out a couple of weeks later.
Being a lover of quality souvenirs, I retrieved the document and on cold rainy days it amuses me no end to reassemble it over and over like a jigsaw.
The replacement flatmate does not blow her nose in the shower, however often communicates in strange hi-pitched mumbles. This mimics the tone of real speech but sounds like the incomprehensible babble of those claymation shows on the ABC in the 1980s. You know, balls of plasticine that roll around and their eyes fall out and stuff. Thus conversations with the flatmate, let's call her Morph, go like this
SHAUNA: Good morning!
MORPH: Gmmf Mrrifmrrf!
So very early this morning my thimble-sized bladder was calling out for relief, as it does of a morning, so I shuffled sleepily into the bathroom. I knew what I had to do and there was enough sunrise leaking through the frosted glass door not to need the light on – I have inherited The Mothership's loathing of wasted electricity. Once finished and flushed I was about to totter back to the cot when I noticed there seemed to be something in the toilet. I reluctantly switched the light on and peered into the bowl. Wedged on the bottom, all limp and pink and lifeless, was a BRA.
I ran screaming back to my room.
SHAUNA: I just peed on a bra!
GARETH: You kinky bitch!
After discussing the breasts of my assorted flatmates, we concluded that due to the daintiness of the garment that it must belong to Morph. Anyone else's and the plumbing would have choked on the hefty underwires.
How and why the bra got there remains a mystery. At first I thought as the pee-er that it was my responsibility to fish it out, but Gareth convinced me that if you're stupid enough to use a toilet as an underwear drawer then you take certain risks.
Hours later as I lay awake groaning, "I peed on a bra!" and mentally composing a politely worded note, I heard some scuffling and splashing in the bathroom and next time I checked it was gone.