Switches Are Hard/When It's Yellow, I'm Not Mellow

I originally had a different post scheduled for this week’s musing but then something happened yesterday that TOTALLY BLEW MY MIND.

And by blew my mind, I mean POTENTIALLY SCARRED ME FOR LIFE.

Seven years ago, almost to the day, I was in Biarritz with a pal of mine. For those who don't know, Biarritz is a small surfing community in the south of France. Yeah, I know, I’d hate me too (haha). We were there for two weeks and stayed with a local family instead of in a hotel. Little did we know that we'd be staying with a bunch of lunatics.

Cool-ish-Son, Crazy-Face-Mom, Super-Awesome-Dad and Totally-Nutso-Granny

Side story: there was a mix-up with our arrangements and they were expecting two 16-year old Norweigens (read: under aged girls who’d be home before midnight) so when we showed up, two twenty-something Canucks (read: like to go out drinking), there was a little adjusting that had to be done on both our parts (read: we tried to adjust; they did not).

Me and my pal were super stoked to be within walking distance of the beach (note how I slipped in some surfer lingo there?) and decided that it’d be awesome to see the sun set while sharing a bottle of wine. FYI, in France, you can drink in public: on a bus, in a public library, on the beach while casually chatting with a pack of middle-aged policemen – pretty much anywhere. Yes, I’m also surprised that I chose to return home.

Anyway, so we were half-tipsy after watching the sun set and decided to head back before it got too late. When we arrived back at the house, we noticed that the outside light had been left on. Now, we weren’t sure if it was left on for us or because of Totally-Nutso Granny. She was really old and lived on the first floor, so after an extensive conversation, we decided to leave it on.

Spoiler Alert: That was very much the WRONG thing to do.

The next morning, my poor pal got subjected to what had to be one of the most reality-bending conversations of her life. I was spared because my French was so appalling they avoided speaking with me at all costs. That or they thought I was the stupider one. You'll see what I mean in a second. 

Crazy-Face Mom: Come here, Idiot (she didn’t call her that, but you get it).

My pal, after sighing: Yes?

Crazy-Face Mom: This is a lightswitch. It controls the lights. Do you have these in Canada? Here’s how they work. There’s “on,” and “off.” Then she demonstrated that “on” switched the light “on,” while the “off” position turned it..well, off.

My pal: 

Crazy-Face Mom, nodding fiercely: “Okay, now you try.”

My pal:

After two flicks of the switch (each earning my pal a psychotic smile from Crazy-Face Mom, similar to one you'd use while training a puppy) my pal proved that she was able to operate the incredibly sophisticated light apparatus despite being Canadian (although not well enough to be trusted to operate the garbage can; a story for another time) and we spent the rest of the time trying to spend as little time in the house as possible (which wasn't hard because we were in France). 

Well, yesterday, I’ve never felt a closer kinship to Crazy-Face Mom (and I don't think I need to stress just how difficult that was for me to write).

I was in Sussex for the first time – yes, the place where the Best Song Parody Of All Time was created – and really had to go to the bathroom. I’d been in the car for just over an hour but since I didn’t follow the cardinal rule of going before leaving, by the time I reached the town, it was a full-stop emergency. Luckily, there was a Tim Horton’s right by the exit (shocker, I know).

Screeching to a stop by the front door (not really), I ran into the building (really). Swinging the women’s washroom door open, I watched both stall doors close simultaneously.

With my legs crossed and leaning against the sink to avoid an embarrassing accident, I waited while the women took their sweet sweet time droned on and on about how hard it is to remember to take some random medication once a week. Apparently, the biggest beef the women had was that they had to wait half an hour before eating anything afterwards but…wait for it…an entire hour if they wanted to eat dairy! 

Finally, after what felt like a thousand years, one of the women came out. She looked startled to see me and then walked to the sink. The two women were still speaking while the one finished up, but I’d tuned them out because I was so elated to get to pee.

And that’s when I noticed that the woman who used the stall before me, didn’t flush.


The mixture of confusion and grossed-out-ness stunned me in place. 

Is this really happening? Is what I'm seeing REALLY THERE? Why didn't she flush? Who doesn't flush in a public restroom? Am I on some kind of sick-o reality TV program? What the hell is going on here?

I don’t know where I got the idea, but I opened the stall door and asked the woman if she was finished. 

She and her companion looked at my like I was a nutcase.

Repeat: she looked at me like I was the nutcase.

My response:

With a large and somewhat passive-aggressive sigh, I pushed the flush lever as hard as I could. By the time the swoosh of swirling water had sucked the yellow-ness away, they were gone.

So as much as I hate to say it, maybe Crazy-Face Mom wasn't so wrong with her ridiculous instructions on how to operate basic switches. Apparently some Canadians really do find it to be a challenge. Like we really needed another stereotype, eh? 

Now you'll have to excuse me, I need to finish chipping the last few blocks of ice for my igloo while marinating moose meat in maple syrup for supper tonight (yes, it's going to be a busy day). 


  1. That's so nasty. I don't know what it is about public restrooms that so many women think it's ok to leave all courtesy and cleanliness at the door. Ugh.

  2. Hysterical! And I think the situations are TOTALLY different! France = honest mistake. Sussex = really? I love that you called her out. You are awesome my friend!


Whattaya got to say about that? *waits*

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.