A good little ‘dirt’ story bobbed up yesterday. London Mayor Ken Livingstone – for those unfamiliar, not one to mince his words or ideas – has encouraged Londoners not to flush the loo when they take a pee/wizz/spend a penny etc. The idea is to save water… It may be freezing here at the moment, but it’s very very dry, and we are heading for a summer drought unless we get rain soon.
Of course, this is classic dirt territory. We actually decided to adopt a ‘not when you’ve pee-d’ flushing policy in our house some time ago as an environmental measure. But it was met with cries of “filthy” by some. “Disgusting” by others. Particularly as we also have no asthma-enducing chemical horrors air fresheners either. And where do you draw the line? Do you not flush in other people’s houses too? At work?
There is, of course, nothing unhygienic about it, but it rattles our dirt boundaries. And is thus an interesting place. As Hyde notes in ‘Trickster Makes This World‘:
“As with keeping shame’s appropriate silences, honoring the distinction between the clean and the dirty helps make the world an orderly place, while dishonoring that distinction – defecating in the wrong place or mixing lobsters with fish – threatens the design, the cosmos.”
And not allowing such threats – by insisting one flushes unnecessarily after a pee – is a small step to becoming “a Christian Church blocked by its own purity.”
Go Ken. (but don’t flush)