LET'S AGREE ON THE PORCELAIN
Page added Sep-4-99
I was digging through some old papers after my mom squashed a giant centipede in the basement. I swear they were coming from my brother's stack of Daily Racing Forms and not my carefully bagged stack of Rolling Stone. This article actually appeared in the March 20, 1997 SAIT Emery Weal. I think there was a rebuttal in a later issue, but that doesn't matter. This story is true, and it's absolute gold.
A few months ago there were a series of articles in the Weal relating to people's bathroom habits [Christine: this was another good letter to the editor. If I ever catch the Phantom Crapper of the 2nd Floor...geez!]. Last Tuesday, I was rather graphically reminded of this, when I went to use the bathroom on the main floor of the John Ware building - the one directly in front of the entrance to the Food Services Department.
So there I was using one of the regular white vertical urinals. I assumed this to be common practice on campus. Little did I know. Anyway, there I was using the urinal when someone walked in, paused a second, and then turned and went around the corner to the sink area. I assumed that he went there to wash his hands (funny, I never heard any water running though). For those of you who have never seen these "sinks" they are semi-circular stone basins with a central water spout that turns on when one steps on the foot pedal.
So, I finished doing my business, and went around the corner to wash my hands. I was a little shocked to see a cooking student (wearing a checkered pants and a white shirt uniform) using, what I had until then blindly assumed to be a sink as a - you guessed it - a urinal.
I was a little choked, and considered hitting the foot pedal and getting him wet, but I really didn't want to watch him pissing while I washed my hands. Luckily, there were two, uh, sinks, so I used the other one.
Shortly after this, the student left and get this, didn't even "flush" (if you can call it that), or wash his hands afterwards. A few minutes later I saw the same student in the main cafeteria. No, he was not serving food, I think he was just on a break (however, it was not yet lunch time).
This incident leaves me a little confused, and with a bunch of questions, like, which urinals do I use? The white vertical ones, or the round flat ones? If those sinks are really communal urinals, where are the sinks? Are there also communal toilets somewhere on campus? Should I be eating in the John Ware cafeteria? It is already past the middle of the term by now, everyone should be clued in. Why do the student name tags say "PROFESSIONAL cooking student"?
Finally, a word of caution: next time you are washing your hands somewhere on campus, DON'T TOUCH THE SINK. You never know what is has been used for!
Well, if that doesn't give you the heebee-jeebees! If you think women have it bad over here when it comes to the facilities, just try travelling in Europe. The public washrooms we so take for granted here are often non-existent, lacking doors (horrible memories of an old woman on a Greek boat), extremely filthy (bugs, slugs, moths) or occupied by strange neighbours (ewww more old ladies with their skirts hiked! The bathroom at my papoo's house was seperate from the actual house, meaning that if you had to go at night, you might either trip over a cat or attacked by bats. Half the time we unsuspectingly opened the unlocked door only to find some old neighbour woman in there. Ugh!)
Oh wait. Scratch that. The most horrible gas station washroom exists in the tiny town of Bowden, Alberta. I would take the old lady with her pants down over having to stare at a giant condom machine for 50 seconds and put up with the 10th rate rose deodorizer. I'm not sure what it is about rural towns, but if you need a fruity flavoured glow-in-the-dark condom with a bulb tip and ribs, they're never too far away.
Note: Many years later, the Bowden gas station washroom still takes the cake! Between the gift wrapped toilets at the Kentucky Horse Park to the snazzy outhouses in Mt. Rainier, I haven't come across a close comparison. If you want to read more about the best and worst toilets out there, check out The Bathroom Diaries!