07 August 2007

A wee story

Calling on Kahlo is going on vacation and is running a vacation blog contest. Thought I would contribute the first story that popped into my head when thinking about odd vacation happenings.

In June of 2002 I traveled to Greece with the X for two weeks. He is from Greece, and goes back every summer to visit his mother and spend time at the house he owns there. The first week was spent in Athens, Ioannina, and Santorini. For the last few days we went to his house in Karystos, a small town on the island of Evia. Our first night there, we went into town to meet friends of his, a really nice (and English-speaking) couple, for dinner. It was already getting dark when we left the house and headed to a bar on the main street. It was a fairly nice establishment. Large, open floor plan, with tall tables and colorful lighting, and good dance music playing. There was also an outdoor seating area that faced the shore, which is where we chose to sit in order to take advantage of the nice breeze coming off the water.

After a couple of drinks, nature called, so I went off to find the restroom. I walked through the main part of the bar and out the other side, near where we came in. The door to the restroom was outside and around the corner from the main entrance, I guess to be more accessible to the people who might be walking about the main street. The door to the restroom was propped open, and it didn’t look like there was a way to close the door without moving a heavy object holding it open. The stalls had walls that reached to the floor and doors that locked, so no biggie that the main door didn’t close. As I walked in, I immediately realized it was a unisex bathroom; the first stall door had a drawing of a man on it, the one next to it had a drawing of a woman. I walked past the men’s stall, and the toilet within, and stopped in front of the women’s stall. Looking in, I had a moment of, “Wha--?” Staring back at me was a porcelain and tile aberration—a Turkish toilet. For those not familiar with this loveliness, this is what it looks like:


The one that I was faced with had a much wider expanse of porcelain in front of the hole and between the ridges on each side. Now, the idea is that your feet are positioned on the ridges and you squat to do your business. Having heard of these toilets before, I wasn’t completely horrified at the sight of one, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled either. We won’t go into why I didn’t just use the men’s toilet. Let’s just say that hovering over a hole in the ground was much less likely to give me an infection than if I had tried to use the disgustingly filthy men’s toilet.

Okay, I thought, I can do this. I entered the stall and closed the door. There was a roll of toilet paper, but it was perched atop a giant trash can near the stall door, and in no way accessible to anyone squatting on the floor. Glad I noticed that before disrobing—I grabbed a few sheets from the roll and commenced attempting to hover. Now, most women of a certain age have perfected the art of the hover. I myself have a technique which employs more balance than thigh strength. Peeing in a hole in the ground requires way more skill than the average public toilet hover. One must squat lower and aim away from the clothing around the ankles. I was wearing WHITE capri pants. So, not only am I trying like hell to keep my white pants from touching the ground as I’m performing the hover-to-end-all-hovers, but I am also trying to avoid, ahem, “soiling” said white pants at the same time. Let me ask you, have you ever poured water onto a smooth surface, say, the floor of the bathtub, before? Splatters doesn’t it? Well, I quickly realized that I had to protect the white pants from above AND below. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to do my business without messing up the white pants, getting a muscle cramp, or losing my balance and falling over. I’m home free, right? No such luck.

Then came the flushing. Thankfully, there was a way to flush this toilet (doing a bit of research, I realized that this is not always the case—some just have a spigot and a bucket with which to rinse the surface). A push on the foot pedal next to the toilet activated the flushing mechanism just above the hole in the floor. Again, water + smooth surface = splatters. I managed to keep my white pants clean—my feet did not fair so well. I was so glad that I didn’t have to walk around all night with wee on my pants that I didn’t bother to do much to wash my feet off besides wiping them down with a paper towel. A few more drinks and I didn't care anyway.


Blogger Calling on Kahlo said...

That is hysterical! I don't know what I would have done. It reminds me of the three seashells from Demolition Man. I feel like I have learned something new. Great story!

Thanks for participating!

5:21 PM  

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