I appreciate the toilet paper at home. At my mom’s home, I mean. I didn’t really notice it until this morning when my just-awake slowness made it possible for me to reach out and touch the roll of paper and nearly gasp with surprise at how soft it is. I took a closer look at the paper and noticed how fluffy and white and thick it was, how taking more than the standard three or four squares seemed downright superfluous because of how fancy it is.
In Brazil, the toilet paper is drastically different. It’s not fluffy and soft and sewed together lovingly by toilet paper elves. It’s plain grey-white paper. It’s toilet paper and thus, Brazil doesn’t feel the need to go all crazy with it. Makes sense to me. You’re just going to throw it out anyway. If you remember, Brazil also does not feel the need to invest in great plumbing systems, so we are forced to keep our grey-white and used paper in the trash can next to the toilet so it doesn’t clog the pipes if we flush it. (This was the one thing Dennis couldn’t get used to on his visit, and it’s the one habit I have not really been able to curb since coming home. It’s an automatic reaction to look for a trash can now.) It is kind of gross not to flush used paper and that’s another reason I’m happy to be home.
The paper is so soft and luxurious here it seems privileged and over-the-top, not to mention expensive to buy. What is it now, eight bucks for a big pack of toilet paper? Eight bucks could buy toilet paper enough for me for three months in Brazil.
Whatever we have here, I forget the brand name (Charmin? Downy? Fluffy? Puffy? Certs?) is waaay too nice to be toilet paper and I’m amazed American industry is even spending that much money developing products like this because, when you get down to it, it IS just toilet paper. I don’t know, if they continue on this trajectory, soon we’ll have the option of using small squares of NASA designed Tempur-Pedic mattresses because not only are they soft, but they conform to every curve of our bodies, making it possible not just to sleep comfortably but to wipe comfortably too. Gross. Sorry.
The point is, maybe Brazil’s right in this case. They might not have the public safety thing down yet, but I’m pretty sure they’re on the right track with the toilet paper.