One square, 2, 3 or 4? How many pieces of toilet paper will I allow myself
to use right now?  No more just tearing it off willy nilly.  These rolls need to last
for a while.  My mind shifts to prior encounters with toilet paper:  the stiff and thin
paper-like toilet paper in Israel in the ‘60s; the newspaper used in Brussels in a
public bathroom in 1970; the scratchy toilet paper in a cheap hotel in Paris in
I always appreciated the soft and fluffy toilet paper when I would be back
in the United States.  America, the leader in luxury products.
Several years ago I read that my favorite toilet paper was not sustainable; it was
ruining the forests in No. America and Canada with each flush.  My recycled toilet paper
isn’t as thick and soft, but at least I’m not contributing to the destruction of forests.|
Back to my counting TP squares. I don’t like to be without the necessities. I know I am
spoiled and privileged that I don’t have to be without. My days are slower and quieter
right now, with more time to reflect on toilet paper, and everything else I’m grateful for.  I
take so much for granted until I risk losing it, whether it’s toilet paper, my health, or someone
|I care about.  One day I will look back on this time with more perspective and clarity on how
it changed me.  Until then I will keep counting TP squares.

Thank you Evelyn, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series: