The Unforgettable Toilet Break

The Unforgettable Toilet Break

by Wendy Pierson

You should write it down! That’s what my friends say when I break into a story, so you be the judge. Here’s a recollection which still brings a chuckle when I think back.

In the early 1980’s, my husband David and myself were in Papua New Guinea beginning a three year working contract with Ela Motors, Toyota on the island of West New Britain. David was Parts Manager of a Parts Distribution Warehouse, working with local staff. Now, in those early days, the workers were recruited from local bush communities and David was wary of using the staff toilets, mainly because there were often footprints on the toilet seat and other unmentionable things on the floor – best avoided. So living two streets away, it wasn’t unusual for him to take a comfort stop at home.

We lived in a simple upstairs duplex, with a carport and laundry each side underneath the living area upstairs. The windows were louvres with insect screening, ceiling fans were our only method of cooling and you could see between some gaps in the flooring to the concrete carport below.

I was pregnant, visiting the neighbour in the adjoining duplex so we could have a cool drink and chat. A short time earlier I had had a visit from some workmen who were repairing a leaky pipe to our gas stove. We heard the ute screaming into the driveway and the thud of feet ascending the stairs next door as David made his visit. Quiet for a moment, then an almighty boom next door. Also, because of the flimsy nature of the building, a bit of a sideways sway. My heart sank as I imagined the worst case scenario. A gas explosion resulting from faulty workman ship, due to a curious husband checking the gas repairs?

My neighbour and I pelted down the stairs as fast as my pregnant body would allow, then back up the other side to our apartment expecting the worst. Opening the screen door, sweating and panting, there was David with an ashen face standing next to a gas stove in disarray, shaken but alive. His first comment? “I nearly shit myself.”

After the initial relief that we still had a home, although the stove was deceased, we fell about in laughter, vowing never to allow gas repairs to be done in our home again. New stove, on the company. I have many other stories to tell, but they can wait for another day. Cheers!