Friday, April 17, 2009

toilet talk ii

Allow me to say a little word in defence of public toilets.

I've seen a few in my time, and I have to admit some have been less than salubrious. I'm thinking of China here. Not the '5 star' toilets of Beijing. No, I'm remembering the truly revolting hole in the wood out in a country area. I cannot even begin to describe the sight or the stench, and to be honest I don't want to. Hideous. In Kazakhstan while peeing in an almost full hole, I learned the benefits of icy winter, and in Tajikistan I developed the art of good aim (no mean feat when you're female). In the USA I blushed at the size of the gap between door and stall wall, and while I'd rather not eat at McDonalds if I can avoid it, they do provide convenient toilet stops along the way, although again, cleanliness is unpredictable.

Wherever you may be, in a public toilet seats (if they have them) may be drippy, the toilet paper scratchy or non existent, latches broken, and the air somewhat... well... fetid. I suppose you could say I have a love-hate relationship with public toilets. I dislike them. Then again I need them and I use them. And really, not much beats the sheer relief of letting go (even in a filthy loo) after holding on too long.

Saying that reminds me of my Turkey toilet experience. I dislike public toilets, but I dislike bus toilets more. So there we were, travelling from Izmir to Istanbul and I was trying to last the whole bus trip. I can't recall how many hours the journey was, but by the time we reached the outskirts of Istanbul I was in great pain and could hold on no more. Relenting, I went to the toilet ardently hoping those Turkish men had not left too much mess, and did the sweetest pee in living history. Thinking back, I suspect the bus toilet may have been a better option than anything on offer at the bus station. And at the precise moment I was perching gingerly over the bowl we drove over the Bosphorous in all its evening beauty. Sigh.

All great public toilet history aside, public toilets have taken on a rosy sheen for me of late. There's this one thing about them - they flush. Well they do here anyway. The council, under great pressure from the local female population, has put extra time and effort into ensuring their loos are both functioning and clean.

And right now, for me a flush is very important.

Our toilet is gebrocht. Water is pouring out of the inlet pipe, and try as we might we cannot fix it. To me, this is an emergency. I would have had the plumber in by now - tipping buckets of water down the hatch is not my idea of a good time. Alas, Frank seems unperturbed. He phoned a plumber friend and said 'oh no, it's not urgent'. So here I am, five days later, still pouring water from a bucket. Believe me, a flush is way, way better.

And so I organise my shopping excursions around the public toilet. Do I need to go yet? No... oh well, I'll wait a little longer before I head to the supermarket. Busting? Time to head to the shops and those alluring public loos! Here's hoping the plumber comes early next week. Clean and flutshing as they may be, I can only take so much of the public toilets before I crack!

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At 6:55 am, April 18, 2009, Blogger Angela said...

holy smokes, cecily. you've got to get frank to wise up. I am so not a fan of public toilets, but i have the smallest bladder imaginable and have to use them often. ugh, i would rather pee in the back yard than use a public toilet.

At 12:46 pm, April 18, 2009, Anonymous deanna said...

"Not much beats the sheer relief of letting go (even in a filthy loo) after holding on too long."

You sure have a way with words, Cecily. I'm with Angela - you might let Frank know the women of blog world vote for his insistence on faster toilet fixery.

At 11:44 pm, April 18, 2009, Blogger Cherie said...

So, Cecily, with your vast world-wide experiences with public toilets, I'm wondering, is there a coffee-table book in the works?

Public toilets - the necessary stench.

Now outhouses, they are a whole 'nother topic. The stuff of nightmares, and again, so very relieving in those full-bladder, can't think of anything else, eyes-bulging moments.

Men have it easy. Trees - and buildings to hide behind, road signs to crouch near, bushes to duck behind, curvature of the earth for cryin' out loud - are plentiful and graceful and ..... clean!

The things we women endure...

Frank, it is urgent. Cleanliness is next to godliness and so is a good flush!

At 10:30 pm, April 19, 2009, Blogger cecily said...

Well, good old Frank fixed that problem and we had one normal flush before the toilet started leaking like crazy into the bowl... and we haven't figured out how to fix that yet, so back to the buckets we go. Bother, bother, bother.

At 12:15 pm, April 21, 2009, Blogger Cherie said...

That's One for Frank and a scowling Tsk Tsk Tsk for the toilet. Yes, bother!


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