The other day we had a slight toilet back up in my apartment. Nothing super gross, and nothing too damaging to the pipes. And let me be vehemently clear, I was *not* the source of the backup. There was another culprit and I am still working on trying to get to the bottom of exactly whose bottom caused it. Anyway, all we needed was a simple plunger to pump out the backup.
Obviously, between four roommates and two bathrooms, none of us had a plunger. There’s never been a need for one before. I decided I would go around and ask my neighbors if I could potentially borrow one. So I did, I went to both neighbors across the hall and even the hot one downstairs. “Excuse me, sorry for bothering you, you wouldn’t happen to have a plunger we could borrow, would you?” Every time, same answer, “No, sorry.” All cool, no biggie. Then I came back and told my roommates (one of whom was certainly the culprit of the backup) and told them that none of our neighbors had a plunger we could borrow, and I was met with looks of abject disgust. “Nooooo, you can’t ask neighbors for a plunger!! That’s gross! Nobody does that!!” They flipped out on me saying it was embarrassing and not really proper “apartment etiquette.” Well my bad for trying to fix this problem! I seriously didn’t think it was that far out of line.
What’s so wrong with asking a neighbor to borrow a plunger? I see it like asking them to borrow a wrench or a hammer. Just a household appliance that can be used and returned. Or is it because it’s involved with the toilet, it’s one of those things like asking to borrow a toothbrush, or a tampon? It’s too personal and you just don’t do it? I mean if a neighbor came to me asking to borrow a plunger I’d definitely hand it over. It’s not like they’re licking their plunger and don’t want my toilet bowl water to mask the flavor of their toilet bowl water? I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but that turned out to be a bigger issue than the actual toilet backup itself.
Regardless, I wound up going to the hardware store down the street and shelling out a gnarly $12 for a cup of rubber glued to a wooden dowel. Overpriced? Yes. Unfortunately necessary so I can pee in peace again? Also, yes. You tell me, is it kosher to ask your neighbor to borrow a plunger? I don’t see why not.