Janet Sumner Johnson
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Potty Talk

Jul 18, 2011 Uncategorized 13 comments

Though we generally discourage potty talk at our house, today I’m making an exception. On my latest trip to France and Switzerland, my sister and I had endless laugh sessions from the potties that be.

Sure, you can find gross public restrooms in the U.S., and let’s not forget the long-drop outhouses at camp sites or the infamous port-a-potties at big events. Still, we just can’t compare to Europe.

First, we have the squatters.

From the outside, it looks like a typical roadside rest stop potty,

but open those doors and you’re in for a fun surprise.

Oh yes. Not only is this a place to unload your cares, it’s an exercise facility as well. Talk about time management.

And don’t even think about cheating on those squats by putting a hand on the back wall. The thing automatically flushes down the entire wall to clear your waste. Not a pleasant surprise (fortunately, that was my sister who found out the hard way).

Next we have the pay potties

Slip your euro in the slot, and you’re ensured a cool 20 minutes of private reading time. Just don’t get caught up in your book, because those doors pop right open when your time’s up.

But on the plus side, they come with the guarantee of an automatic washdown between each use. A word of caution: be sure to dry off the seat before getting comfortable.

And finally, my personal favorite: the metal-seated variety in the high Alps.

So, I used this thing in July, and I nearly froze my little tushy off. I can only imagine the fun experience you might have in January. Drying off your seat before using it is more than just good hygiene if you know what I mean (think A Christmas Story and the flag pole incident).

Now what does all this have to do with writing? Well, I’m sure I could say something about style and making it your own. Or perhaps it’s about the improvement process over time. Or maybe something about being aware of the pitfalls of writing . . . but really, I just thought it was funny.

What do you take from this?


13 Responses to “Potty Talk”

  1. I remember those squatting toilets in Thailand. I had to go really badly one day, but couldn't figure out how to use them gracefully (okay, that's putting it nicely). So I waited until we (I was shopping with my mom) got back to her place. Man, I was never so happy to see a real toilet as I was that day. 😉

    I'm still working on the no potty talk rule at my house. My boys refuse to listen. Grrr.

  2. MikeS says:

    All of those European options are better than the "saloon door" style public potties along the hiking trail in Korea. There was no way on earth I was gonna sit down there and do my business while watching the crowds walk by over the top of the door.

  3. I don't know if they still use the same toilets, but I remember as a kid going past a rest stop near Mt. Lassen that was over 8000 feet, and it had metal-seated toilets. It looked cold and thankfully I didn't have to find out first hand.
    Must be a mountain thing.

  4. Oh gosh, the bathrooms in Europe are crazy, aren't they? In Lyon, the main public park didn't even have real bathrooms until about a year ago. Crazy, right?

  5. The quadriceps strength to hover above a variety of strange toilets is something I strive for when I'm in the gym. Funny post!

  6. Patti says:

    That's funny about the door popping open and you'd need to do a lot of squats before you go to Europe just so you can pee.

    I guess what I bring away from it, is to try and bring a little humor to your books.

  7. Those are too funny! I have had enough trouble using an outhouse or port-a-potty. I can't imagine using some of these. Makes me even more thankful for our toilets!

  8. Emy Shin says:

    My house in Vietnam used to have a squatter — but I remember my trip to a rural area, where the squatter is made of dirt and dried mud — and I feel so, so fortunate to be here now.

    (But the entire wall wash-down. Wow!)

  9. Oh, funny! No tie-in to writing necessary! 🙂

    My favorite was "the trough" in China. Yes, it was a trough and you squatted with as many other women as happened to be in the toilet at the same time (say, minimum of 10?) over the trough. No doors. No stalls. Just trough.


  10. Jen Daiker says:

    My jaw dropped about the 20 minute time limit. Literally imagined the doors opening with my pants around my ankles. Yikes.

    Thank God it would take less than 20 minutes to pee. I'll use the hotel for the other type of potty.

  11. Wow, I'm a little frightened, but thanks for the great laugh! And welcome home. ; )

  12. That would have been a frightening experience for me. Yikes!

  13. AHHHH! I remember the pay ones in the UK. But those first ones scare me!!!!

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