Wednesday December 11, 2013
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"Will the Hollywood Bowl take the throne?"
"Will the fans of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis turn out to worship their porcelain gods?"
"Or will the Vanity Nightclub in Las Vegas win for its fancified facilities?"
And yes, there really is going to be a Best Restroom Award.
As CNN says, "When you gotta go, these are the restrooms you're looking for."
I don't know about you, but I do not think I would make it to the Hollywood Bowl. And even Las Vegas would be a stretch at my age.
I've had to go in some pretty dirty, poorly kept restrooms. My only request for restrooms is that they be available to me when I need them. The most frustrating thing is to have a restroom locked with a "Closed for Repair" sign hanging on it!
You have heard that many things are relative? Several years back I was visiting France. I was in a cafe in a rural area when nature yelled. When I went into the restroom and looked around there was nothing but a porcelain-lined hole in the floor. Well.
When you gotta go, you gotta go!
You must have been in a high class area. Porcelain-lined? Gee! What will they think of next?
Traveling around this kooky world I've seen everything from a hole in the wooden floor, to a hole in a concrete floor with two foot-shaped and slightly raised places on either side of it, to the absolute bottom: A mud wall with a small hole punched through it at the bottom and a shallow bird-bath-sized pool of whatever over which you squatted, with the outer half of the birdbath-sized pool outside the wall and leading to a hand-width sized channel scratched in the dirt to carry everything away, over level ground, and with no additional source of water.
While you were in France did you ever run across one of those big old, circular outdoor "pissieries" (actually the full term is pisserie d'uninoir) located on the street, and see all the Frenchmen lined up around it?
They must drink a LOT of wine over there! :-)
But this, I think, is the funniest one I ever ran into. When Lolly and I were searching for our first home in Karachi we went to an apartment in a fairly decent area of town called P.E.C.H.S. The buildings there were all concrete because wood had to be imported as is often true in very old regions of the world where they grow goats that eat seedling trees.
The apartment wasn't bad at all, livable I guess. Upper floor and clean, but oddly arranged on three levels, one of which was the roof. On the roof, in its own separate throne room sat the...uh, john. The owner, looking very proud, opened the door and bid us enter an eight foot square room devoted to nothing but one commode.
In we went. Windows ran all the way around three sides of the white painted room. The ceiling was 11 ten feet high and fitted with a four bladed fan. The floor was green painted concrete. And there, as part of a six foot wide and 30 inch deep solid block of concrete, was a regular commode. The commode, tank and all, was completely embedded in the concrete. Its seat, a regular oak toidy seat, was 30 inches off the floor.
I give Lolly a lot of credit. Like me, she respectfully thanked the prospective landlord for his time and trouble, and we both left before we broke out laughing.
Can you imagine sitting there in all your splendid glory, high above the floor on the throne-of-thrones, three stories above the city, with a view in all directions? All that was missing was velvet drapes on the windows and fur on the seat.
It reminded me of an old song we used sing in the military to the tune of "If I had the wings of an angel." I'll see if I can clean it up enough to post. Hm-m-m-m....
Oh, if we had the wings of an angel,
And the blurm of a big buffalo,
We would climb to the mountains above us,
And bleep on the peasants below.
I swear! That man was SO proud! That toidy, probably the only one he had ever owned, was not going to be damaged by some careless tenant.
Tom; No, I did not see the famous French watering holes. Like a lot of people I know, our first house had an outdoor John until my father installed an indoor Loo. A bathtub, too. Gosh, we were living well. I also recall that when I visited Russia in the mid-70s, in some of the toilets did not have toilet paper, or even news paper. We had to adjust to old catalogues. Rather slick. In my mind the point is how rapidly things have changed in so few years.
I first ran across word of one of the French-style spas when I was reading something--probably in a magazine--back in my 20's. It was a comment written by an American woman who was outraged by them. I remember than her first experience with one was standing on a curb waiting for a bus, feeling liquid splashing on her legs, being horrified to realize what it was, and highly suspicious that some smart-aleck was having "fun" at her expense (which I don't doubt for a minute.)
I'm a city boy, so we had indoor plumbing right from Day One, and toidy paper too. I ran across outdoor plumbing when I went to boy scout camp for three weeks one summer. They had what was probably a 12 holer or so, and one of the jobs you might draw was "knocking over the piles." They had a long pole for the job. And since you know kids so well, John, I'm sure you'll immediately realize that it was a given that 200 teens let loose on the world would find a way of having fun with that. The outside cover was a large hinged door that sat at an angle. I would say it was at least ten feet wide--and very heavy. Someone discovered that it you waited until the seats were occupied, went around to the back, lifted the heavy hinged cover, slammed it back down, and ran, you'd be greeted by the sound of loud screams as the stuff was swept into the air by the stiff wind created, plastering the backsides of anyone in the place--and even the ceiling.
After that, we also drew "guard the cover" duty.
I was lucky. I came up with some spots that they thought might be measles and was spirited out of there in my first week. Three people had very thoughtfully given me "Week at Camp Wakenah" certificates for Christmas. They were wasted. I hated the place.
Ah yes, bathtub. How I love a good hot soak! It's my favorite aerobic expercise. Don't get one anymore though. Had the shower/tub removed and replaced with a safe shower enclosure (no step up or down) so I can take care of Lolly.
And you are SO right about how things have changed. If someone back in the 30's had started talking about the things we take for granted we'd have put him in a rubber room.
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