If Only All Wars Were Made of Toilet Paper: War of Wills, War of Cultures… or BOTH?

Before I begin, let me just say that last week was a difficult one for my entire family.  

I think we (or at least I) could use a little comic relief.  

Taking a little break from the big issues in life is at times a necessary blessing.  

If only all wars were made of toilet paper…

Seems like an ordinary roll of toilet paper, but beware of its consequences! Photo/Graphics by Bellanda ®

Seems like an ordinary roll of toilet paper, but beware of its consequences!
Photo/Graphics by Bellanda ®

It seems like an ordinary roll of toilet paper, right?  Who would have thought that a simple roll of toilet paper could start what I am calling the Silent Toilet Paper War?  I can almost see some of you shaking your heads as you wonder if I’ve either lost my mind or run out of ideas for my blog.  You might even be thinking that it must be sheer desperation that has driven me to write about such a subject.  On the contrary, those of you who follow my blog know that I had planned to write about my favorite place to buy and drink coffee in Paris.  So, why toilet paper?  Let’s just say that it’s amazing what can arise from a simple one week visit from my dear sweet French man’s parents.  Sorry, but the coffee post will just have to wait!

Toilet paper…  When you hear those words I’m sure there are many things that come to mind of which we truly do not need to talk about.  As long as I’ve had it when it was needed, I never gave it much thought.  Then came an eye-opening visit from my in-laws which led me to realize something that I’m not proud of.  Apparently, I can be quite petty when it comes to the direction a toilet paper roll is placed on the holder.  Ah, yes! Did some of you just have a moment of recognition?  Disbelief?  Either way, I have a feeling that many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

On the first day my in-laws were with us, I walked into the bathroom and immediately noticed that the roll of toilet paper was facing in the wrong direction.  Yes, I am seriously that obsessive. Who knew?!  Instinctively, I switched it back to what I consider to be the correct  way to hang toilet paper.  I figured that one of my children must have knocked it on the floor by accident and placed it back on the holder in the wrong direction.  Then, it happened again… and again.  I kept this whole thing to myself, but out of curiosity switched the toilet paper back each time I saw it in the wrong direction.

My Way!

My Way! (Over Orientation)

I decided to do a little investigating (I know, I need to get out more).  This probably sounds crazy and perhaps it truly is, but I just had to know who was doing this.  I found myself sneaking around, checking the bathroom each time someone walked out.  It turned out that it was my Mother-in-Law AND Father-in-Law!  They actually took the time to change the direction of the toilet paper roll each time they went into the bathroom!  I mean really, who does that?  Oh right, my in-laws… but why?  I don’t know about you, but I have never thought of switching the toilet paper roll direction when I am a guest at someone else’s house and would appreciate it if you are a future guest at my home that you leave my toilet paper the way I like it.  😉

The first time you notice that the toilet paper is in the wrong direction, you say to yourself that it must have been an accident.   The second time, you start to wonder.  The third time, you start to wonder if they are doing this just to annoy you.  The fourth time you are sure they are!  No one spoke of the subject, yet each time I switched the roll to my way, they switched it back to their way.  Thus began, what I’m going to call the Toilet Paper Experiment and the Silent Toilet Paper War.

Yes, I am indeed aware that perhaps I need to get a life but let’s just say I did all of this under the realm of  cultural research.  At least, that is what I’m telling myself. I continued doing this in secret for the entire week they stayed with us.  I was afraid if I mentioned it to anyone it would taint my experiment and ruin the outcome.  I actually giggled as I went in and out of the bathroom in disbelief.  I wanted so much to share what was happening with my dear sweet man, but I stuck to my original plan.  I kept wondering if my in-laws would eventually stop switching the toilet paper roll.  I was sure that they would… but this is what I would see every single day, several times a day, for the entire week!

Their Way!

Their Way! (Under Orientation)

Was this some Machiavellian way to get even with me for taking their son away ?

During the week, I began asking myself some truly ridiculous questions.  Is there even a correct way to place toilet paper on the holder?  Is it just an acquired behavioral pattern?  Is it just another one of those cultural issues that pops up from time to time as a result of being an expat?  Do people even care which way the paper is placed on the holder?

Then, I did what pretty much everyone else does when they want to know something, I Googled the words “correct way to place toilet paper on the holder” only to discover that despite this being a truly petty subject matter… there is actually a Silent and Not So Silent War going on when it concerns this topic.  Apparently, there have been a ridiculous numbers of studies actually done on this subject.  I smiled, feeling somewhat vindicated that somehow I was not as crazy as I thought.  If scientists, philosophers and doctors have researched this subject, then I can assume I’m in good company (or at least in crazy company).

The wealth of information is actually quite hilarious and even links toilet paper orientation to  personality traits, age, political affiliation, and of course cultural differences.  One can’t help but laugh, but apparently it is also a pet peeve that causes actual fights in some relationships.  According to Wikipedia,  Ann Landers said that this subject was the most controversial issue in her column’s history.

What struck me time and time again while going through the mass of information on the internet concerning this topic were the recurring polls and studies that showed that most Americans use the over orientation, as I do, while most Europeans use the under orientation like my in-laws.  Somehow, I was relieved that my in-laws weren’t trying to make me crazy or get even with me for some unknown reason.  I felt better in thinking that toilet paper orientation is just a cultural thing. That is, until I saw this…

You just can't make this kind of thing up... life is so full of surprises!

You just can’t make this kind of thing up… Life is much more fun than fiction!

War of Wills, War of Cultures… or BOTH?  I’ll let you be your own judge.  I’m going to pretend (or lie to myself) that it’s just another Expat cultural thing and that my dear man’s parents were just too preoccupied with packing their bags to replace the roll of toilet paper.   If I allow myself to think this was done on purpose, I might also discover that I have a little vengeful, yet playful, side of me that will have to spend my next visit to their home changing the toilet paper in all of the bathrooms… for the entire duration of my trip!  😀

If only all wars were made of toilet paper…

We could just flush them down the toilet.

Have some fun & see where you fit in.  Here’s the Wikipedia link if you are curious to know what your toilet paper orientation says about you:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper_orientation

Here’s a post that nearly made me fall on the floor laughing:  http://currentconfig.com/2005/02/22/essential-life-lesson-1-over-is-right-under-is-wrong  The author included sketches and clearly stated reasons as to why the way I orient my toilet paper is the correct way.  In all fairness to under orientation people, they updated their post to include some reasons why some people prefer this approach.

Now the BIG questions…

Have some fun and let yourself think about something truly ridiculous for a moment. 

Do you care which way the toilet paper is placed on the holder?  

If so, which way is your ‘correct’ way?  

What country are you from?

*Oh, and feel free to leave a fake name if you would rather not let people all over the world know you’re actually discussing toilet paper orientation…  🙂

UPDATE:

THIS ARTICLE & TOILET PAPER PATENT JUST ABOUT SETTLES THE TOILET PAPER ORIENTATION DEBATE… I WIN –  HAHAHA! Just in time… They are due for another visit in about 10 days & this might come in handy.  😉

124-year-old patent solves the ‘over versus under’ toilet paper roll debate

Spotted by The Huffington Post, writer Owen Williams discovered a picture of the original patent and shared it with the world.

A candle burns… and with it shines the light of my hopes for a better world filled with peace

This candle burns for you...

This candle burns for you…

I cannot go on with life as normal today, as we are once again reminded of the violence in the world we presently live.  Being an Expat can be wonderful, but it also means that we are not with those we love in times of need.  This is the part of the package of ‘living one’s dream’ that is the hardest to handle.  Although far in miles, you are all near and dear in my heart… as are those who suffer in other parts of the world.

I have never understood the hate and harm that takes place in so much of the world.  Life is so very precious, and yet every single day lives are lost to terror and hate.  When will this ever stop? When will we begin to respect and allow others to live peacefully the way they chose?

When I look into my innocent children’s eyes, I wonder what kind of world awaits them. Perhaps this will sound naive, but it would be wonderful if everyone would wake up and realize the value of each life, in all forms, so that we can live & let live… in peace.

This candle burns… and with it shines the light of my hopes for a better world filled with peace.

Only we can make a difference...

Only we can make a difference…
Bellanda ®

Gotta love French Pastry Chefs!

Now this is what I call a cake!  In French, it's called a  "Fraisier" - just in case you want to try one during one of your visits.

Now this is what I call a cake!
Bellanda ®

Now this is what I call a birthday cake! 

Sharing my delicious birthday cake with all of you because you are awesome… any takers? 🙂 YUMMY!

 Oh, in case you want to try one during one of your visits to France, it’s called a “Fraisier.”

Sharing the view: Notre Dame – Paris, France

Notre Dame - Paris, FrancePhotography/Graphicsby Bellanda  ®

Notre Dame – Paris, France – 2013
Photography/Graphics by Bellanda ®

The light was shining ever so perfectly…  Despite the cold temperatures & shivering hands, I just had to share this view with you.  I looked at that very famous lover’s lock bridge, wondering if it could handle the weight of all the locks, cars and people.  I decided that you were worth it.  Obviously, I survived the bridge and my overactive imagination.   How could I not?  It would be a shame to keep something so beautiful a secret.

Here is a piece of Paris… sent to you with all the best wishes for a great week.