Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Went out to eat tonight. The restaurant had a faux antique sink with similarly vintaged anticlockwise taps like those in Japan to turn them on adjacent a 'restroom' where one might perhaps drop in for a bit of a lie-down between courses.
Since the last few posts have been doom-laden I thought that a return to toilet humour might be the gastronomic equivalent of an ounce of civet, to sweeten the imagination. Those who know me know how deeply I care about cleanliness and its proximity to Godliness. There is a sensible point in here somewhere. Between wiping - or in this country, hosing down - one's nether regions ( I was going to say 'arse') and scraping off the bacteria, one often has to open a mechanical tap with bemerded mitts. After washing, one turns off the same tap with freshly scrubbed, squeaky-clean hands.
Are we getting this?
The best "toilet space" design is at Olbia airport in Sardinia. The Italians love high-tech bathrooms, and this one is totally hands-free, from the beautifully named 'proximity faucet', infrared operated and water-saving, to soap dispenser and warm air dryer, (the Italians also have a great line in voice-activated flushes in some public places - is it triggered by a cavernous fart or, what's Italian for 'flush!'). The only bug in the system is that in order to leave the room, one has to pull a huge, spring-loaded door with an immovable handle the size of an old-fashioned refrigeration unit, requiring Popeye-sized biceps, thus getting both hands dirty again. Presumably the door stylist and sanitary designer weren't at the same meeting. King Lear, of course, needed more than civet to sweeten his mad imagination. Gloucester asks to kiss his hand, Lear refuses and said it 'smelt of mortality'. Oh. No in-line sanitation there, then...

1 comment:

  1. I didn't have the pleasure of a visit to the biffy during our excursion, but your entry reminds of a friend, a very proper British woman, who often lamented the godlessness of restrooms. Mostly the restrooms in Wal-Mart. She took to using paper towel to turn on the taps, and then leaving without turning them off. Since there are no restroom attendants in Canada, this caused no little consternation amongst the current visitors to the facilities. Eventually, someone always turned the tap off. I think there must have been a raft of complaints though - most Wal-Marts in Canada now have troughs which are operated with a foot bar - no hands required. The door thing remains an issue.


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