Toilet seats and class

The feng shui notion that toilet seat lids should always be down except when in use or being cleaned immediately appealed to me. I had long before taken the “gentlemen lower the seat” feminist male ethic enthusiastically to heart, so it fit right in. But it’s a delicate subject to speak up about with many people, so I am still timider than I would like to be on the subject.

It’s as much an aesthetic as energetic prescription, it seems to me. Of course perhaps I’ve just trained my eye to be bothered by the sight of gleaming — or not so gleaming — porcelain. Perhaps that’s it — I don’t want to have to be put in the position of inspecting how well you clean your toilet.

Who cleans toilets is a big class thing, of which I was totally oblivious most of my life. Having grown up with housekeepers, then being a slovenly college student, then a hippie, and then a communard, it was not until I first had a real house with no one but us nuclear family in it that I became aware that toilets need regular cleaning, and that daily cleaning makes it easier to do.

It was Jimmy my Italian landlord who taught me that. Not that he did it himself — he explained how his wife did it, so that none of his toilets would ever look like ours did. I began to keep the toilet clean. His scorn certainly helped make the lesson memorable.


Fred is a Teaching Artist, an arts integration advocate & a social justice activist. He is near completing a two-month Residency as String Game Performance Teacher at Calabasas Elementary School in Watsonville, CA, and performed at the 2015 Santa Cruz Storytelling Festival. He also serves as Teacher Consultant for Professional Development with UCSC's Central California Writing Project and as their Technology Liaison to the National Writing Project. He is a Connected Learning Facilitator and coordinates Face To Face Drop Ins on Connected Learning biweekly at Arts Council Santa Cruz County. He teaches self-directed & connected learning via real-world projects & string games through his Original Digital Project, an Associate of the Arts Council.

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