From “My Saga, Part 1: Karl Ove Knausgaard Travels Through North America” by Knausgaard in the Feb. 25 New York Times Magazine:
I got dressed, stepped out onto the terrace and had a cigarette. When I came back in, I went to the toilet. I hadn’t gone since I arrived in America, so the result was significant. I wiped myself thoroughly, then flushed.
Instead of the water disappearing with a slurping noise before the bowl filled up again, it started to rise. I watched it for a long time. The water level showed no sign of going down. The toilet was clogged. I flushed again, thinking perhaps that would increase the pressure sufficiently. Instead, the water flowed over the top of the bowl and ran down on both sides, spilling onto the floor. I mopped it up with a towel, put the towel in the tub and looked around for an implement of some kind. There was simply no way I was going to call the reception desk about this. I searched every drawer and closet but found nothing I could use to try to remove the plug of feces and toilet paper that must be clogging the drain. Instead, I wrapped a plastic bag around my arm and stuck my hand into the icy water that was welling up from the bowl.
My arm wouldn’t go far enough.