I've spent many an hour in the Jakartass Towers loo cogitating, which means that I value my privy because it's where and when I get to read the crap published for our consumption. Once I've finished my business, I have something which, when torn into squares, has a further value.
Seriously though, I use toilet paper because I always have. I have never ever thought of using my left hand. That's not because I'm right-handed but because the mere thought of doing so gives me constipation, thus defeating the purpose of my visit.
The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country's love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public's insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.
"This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council.
"Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution." Making toilet paper has a significant impact because of the cutting down of forests and the chemicals used in pulp manufacture.
Paper manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark have identified luxury brands such as three-ply tissues or tissues infused with hand lotion as the fastest-growing market share in a highly competitive industry.
Scented toilet paper? Eh?
Toilet tissue manufacturers are catering to a fast-growing demand.
It's worth noting that the new USA administration is not anal retentive. On her recent visit, as part of her charm offensive, Hillary Clinton visited a toilet-provision project sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Petojo Utara in Central Jakarta.
I can't tell you what brand of toilet paper is provided, if any, or whether she used the facilities. Nor can I tell you if there is a standard charge of Rp.500 for their use, which is what these poor people have to pay.
Many years ago, I had to use the toilets at the Gare du Nord in Paris. There was a matronly concierge in charge of both mesdames and messieurs who issued tokens for the locks.
After a while there was a thunderous banging on the door of my cubicle and the harridan demanded to know how much longer I intended to be ensconced inside.
" Madame," I replied in my then fluent French, "If I must pay to cater to the demands of nature, I will take as long as nature intends."
A round of applause echoed around the hallowed hall.
I only mention this because cheapskate airline Ryanair is considering installing coin-slot locks on the toilet doors of its fleet and charging £1 (c.Rp.17,000).