The Tale of the Smuggled Plunger


Yes – this is the bathroom in my hotel room in New York last week.  And that, my friends, is my new plunger.

Yes, I had to buy a plunger while I was in New York.  Why?  Well, let’s just say that one of my talents is to plug up toilets everywhere.  So, I completely clog this particular toilet and also manage to flush it one too many times so that it overflows all over the floor.  I am now panicked and not sure what to do.  So, I shut the bathroom door and watch TV for an hour, hoping that it will “fix itself.”  It doesn’t.

I suck it up and call the front desk to ask for a plunger.  I am very agile with plungers because I get to use them at home all the time thanks to my little talent.  I tell the lady at the front desk that I am having a small bathroom problem and I just need someone to bring up a plunger.  She says, “I’ll send the engineer right up!”  Now I really panic.  Under no circumstances can I let some stranger into my bathroom and see what I have done!  It’s just too embarrassing and this is a small boutique hotel.

So, the guy shows up and I open the door and explain that he cannot come in, but I just need the plunger. He looks completely confused.  I can tell that I am probably the first person who wants to unplug my own toilet.  He says, “Are you sure?”  I say yes, that I just need the plunger, thank you.  He looks at me funny as he hands over a bag and then says that he’ll be there in the hall and wait for it.  He won’t leave me alone to do my job – he’s going to sit outside while I do it!  And, to top off my absolute humiliation, I realize as I take out the plunger that it’s some weird plunger that I have never seen before, and therefore I can’t get it to work:


I try to use it for a few minutes to no avail – it just simply splashes the mess all over the place.  I’m freaking out because I know the guy is just sitting there outside my door, waiting.  I give up and give him back the plunger and pretend it worked.  “Thanks!” I beam as I hand him the bag.  “Everything OK?” he looks suspicious.  “Great!” I smile with terror in my eyes and shut the door in his face.  Now what the fuck am I going to do?

There’s no way I can possibly call them again – I’m just too embarrassed.  No, I must take care of this myself. So, I got dressed, checked my iPhone for the closest Duane Reade (kind of a NYC Walgreens) and prayed they would have a plunger.  Turns out that there is a Duane Reade  a few blocks away, and they do indeed carry plungers – and it’s only $5!  I buy it and realize about halfway back that I will have to somehow get the plunger up to my room while walking past the doormen and the front desk as it completely sticks out from the bag.  Did I mention this is a small boutique hotel?

So, about a block from the hotel I stick the end of the plunger down the leg of my jeans and hide the plunger under my coat.  I look like I am about 6 months pregnant and can’t bend my knee properly.  I lurch up the stairs to the front desk and notice a few cursory glances in my direction.  I realize that this kind of thing could only happen to me.  Yes, I smuggled a plunger up to my room.

A few minutes later my problem is solved, the mess is cleaned up and I disassemble the plunger and put it in my suitcase to check and take home.  Luckily the TSA did not open my bag – I’m sure they don’t see a lot of plungers in suitcases too often. 

I am an idiot.