Truth in the toilet ring

MMM, beer. A warm liquid pot. Pat hovering his face over the steam. The potato, nutty smell of amber water. You smell smells you’d never smell when you make beer, he said. Hops and grains. I wonder how hard it is to grow HOps. I like to say it like that, the onomatopoetic way – HOps. It reminds me of the movie “Super Bad” when the kid is trying to buy beer and he says it just that way “They’ve added more HOpsss to it”
We brewed at a friend’s house last night. We’ve brewed there before. I added the packet of HOps to contribute something. Mostly I was telling stories of being younger, at a brewery/eatery in Davis called Sudwerks. I was about 9 or 10 and the brewing beer smell was so strong and so bad, I started sobbing hysterically and made every one leave. My mom hadn’t married my step-dad yet. He looked pissedannoyed. Maybe I was testing him?
When the boys went out to get more ice, I went to the bathroom. The small bathroom behind 2 closed doors through the laundry room that’s always warm and smells like fabric sheets. The lady of the house is away and they like things clean. Once she refused to let the boys use the bathtub upstairs to cool their beer (basically, fill the tub with ice, put the carboy in the ice, let it cool) because they hadn’t cleaned the tub and she said it was filthy. But when I went to the bathroom downstairs, I saw a thin brown ring around the waterline in the toilet. Whether or not they’ve used that bathroom in a while, I got the greatest satisfaction in seeing life unpolished. The dirty, the lazy, the tissues filling the trashcan. The way people forget. The dirt under their fingernails. The need for perfection dissipating. It’s the moment you see someone as they really are, wrapped up in all their dirty comforts, fronts broken, gates open. It’s the truth.

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6 Responses to Truth in the toilet ring

  1. Lindsey says:

    “Technically I don’t have a first mame.” bahaha.

    I know what you mean about actually SEEING how a person lives … before they get all polished and perfect. I, personally, have a bad habit of wanting everything perfectly positioned and spotless (which you SOOO already know about me) so it’s probably a good life-lesson for me to have lived with my parents these past few months. They really LIVE in their home. Glasses half filled with sweet Texas tea left out on the counter, books and magazines scattered across the living room, bread crumbs on the dining room table …
    It may not always be tidy, but you know it’s someone’s home and they’re comfortable there. It’s who they really are.

    • rachvb says:

      hehehe. haha!

      I love the sweet tea and dishes and crumbs. Love it.
      Then I guess Pat and I REALLY LIVE in our home! Tula, too. I love seeing how people live. The real sides of them. Looking in through the open windows when it’s dark outside. Seeing people comfortable. Or not. It’s intimate and honest and they don’t even have to say anything.

  2. Hops are super easy to grow. All you need is a trellis.
    When the Rainier Brewery was in Seattle the first thing you’d notice when you drove north into the city was the smell. Now it’s a coffee plant. I miss the smell of the old Seattle the hops and yeast and salt air smell. But it would be very intense inside a house.

    • rachvb says:

      I think I’m going to try it. We have wild spaces in our yard. Hops should grow nicely (that is if I don’t manage to accidentally kill it somehow). I love it now, that smell. We used to live down the street from a small brewery in Missoula and that mixed with the paper mill wasn’t exactly pleasant, but certain smells in certain places grow on you. Takes you instantly back. Does the coffee plant smell? I’m romanticizing the coffee plant smell in my head a little bit =).

  3. love this. i am way to OCD, i think. i clean obsessively. fortunately, my family makes sure the house goes back to normal at once.

    • rachvb says:

      Families are good for that. So are boyfriends. I don’t clean obsessively, but will clean if people are coming over (or at least try to). Cleanliness is subjective, I suppose. But I liked, in our casual, unexpected visit, to see the overlooked things in their house. The dead plants, mail, the toilet. The parts of themselves they didn’t want to pick up.

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