A Bathroom Sink Drama
I just dropped an old toothbrush down the sink. In defence of the toothbrush I was using it to clean things, and to a Toothbrush, I imagine, there is almost no greater offence than having their expertise with teeth ignored, while they are unceremoniously brushed into places they do not wish to be.
It slipped my grasp and dived into the plug hole, sinking into the depths.
I did that exaggeratedly slow response thing I’ve found marginally useful when I want to panic. Slow movements. Don’t scare the panic. Don’t let it see the whites of your eyes. In my head, a montage of consequences assailed me. My mothers face when I explained the situation, the sink resigning from its post, and then the burly men in their work clothes ripping it from the wall, joking about the situation, and almost certainly eating my biscuits.
It was a tense montage.
I peered down the plug. The toothbrush was lodged there, deep enough that it was unreachable but the very tip of it was visible none the less.
What I need, I thought, is chopsticks and the skills to use them. Or tongs. Then I remembered my father’s turning fork, which is like a really big pair of tweezers; a singularly useless object in our household but at last its purpose had come.
I went to his study to find it, the Dick Barton theme tune playing with every step.
It was not in its place. It was not, as far as I could see, in something else’s place either. I looked in the little pencil pot I had made my father out of clay when I was about ten. I looked in drawers. I spoke out loud in case it felt like following the sound of my voice. I said to my father, who presumably was minding his own business on some cloud, that If he could push it my way I’d be grateful. Likely, he was conversing with someone important, like a long ago Pope, or the man who invented Murray mints, because he did not respond.
I wondered about my actual tweezers. Putting them down the sink would be the end of them, really. Even if I didn’t manage to drop them, too. My eyebrows have few opinions, but they would be decidedly against the idea of tweezers that have dallied with the sink being anywhere near them. They would bristle at the thought, and I would look like I’d back combed them.
I eyed the tweezers, anyway, but they were small and dainty and I needed something that could outwit a toothbrush. I had a brainwave. Scissors. The toothbrush, I reasoned, was too thick to cut through and I could hold firm to scissors, poke the blades down the sink and then grab and hoist. Like those claws at the fairground that never give you the teddy (it’s a conspiracy).
I returned to the sink with my scissors, and I was as close to a surgeon as I will likely ever be as I carefully tried to extract that toothbrush from there. I got a grip on it, and triumphantly pulled it upwards, then I reached out to get it and as I did, it slid from my grasp.
The first time this happened, I had to tell myself sternly that it was going to be alright.The montage tried, and failed, to get my attention. I repeated this process at least five times. I’d get it, pull it up and then lose it at the last minute.
It was like a comedy sketch for the taps.
I decided what I needed was an additional pair of scissors. So I went rooting about for those and soon returned, once more, to the scene of the crime.
This time, just as the toothbrush began to slide back into the relatively small abyss below it, the second set of scissors leapt into action and I was able to grab and hold on for dear life, pulling that dastardly runaway straight out of the sink. It was covered in fairy liquid and a little sorry for itself.
I washed it and put it down in the pile of cleaning brushes, trying not to be too reproachful with my gaze.
Then I made myself tea, and walked round the house, for a full moment with the swagger of a bee gee, because I was so pleased I’d been successful.
Toothbrushes may even have met their match.