I have a couple of friends--Kathi & David--who have a very particular sense of humor. Toilets, for instance, make them pee their pants with laughter. It has something to do with a you-just-had-to-be-there story about Kat and Dave going to a hotel, and Kat not finding the bathroom in the hotel room. I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now. But every time they need or want to do something funny--which is quite often--, they use toilet humor. Like, the day I met Dave (mind you, at this moment, back in 200...1? 2? I did not like Kathi very much. And she did not like me much either. We had aweful nicknames for each other. I was "Miss All-That-And-A-Bag-Of-Chips" --code name for my arrogance and my need to do everything I could possibly do on campus, on my own--, and she was the "Conservative Frigid Bitch" --code name for her being conservative, frigid, and well, a not-so-nice-person. Well, it was late afternoon one day, we were both in The Bell Ringer office, and I really wanted to go home, but I did not want to have to walk home --God forbid someone walk in Augusta-- and my roommate could only pick me up until past midnight. Kathi's husband was downstairs waiting for her, and she offered me a ride. Which was weird. Must I repeat what we secretly called each other? But she was kind and polite and mature, and I was desperate. So I said yes... on our way down the stairs to where Dave was parked, she said they were going out for dinner at The Pizza Joint, which had just about the most delicious pizza, only outdone by Papa John's. So, I said yes. Which was weird. Really. But I met Dave and--ok, end parenthesis), he had bought a little plastic toilet that spoke. It was hilarious, he said. I found it weird, and a little yucky. The flushing sound and all... But then I heard the story, politely laughed, ate my pizza, and got a ride home.
Apparently, this toilet joke has reached higher levels of Pranking with another couple friends of theirs. That's all cool and all, but it remains a you-just-had-to-be-there kinda joke. So Kat & Dave and their friends exchange toilet joke stuff all the time. The bathrooms in Kat & Dave's house are filled with interesting junk. Some cute, some funny, some just WTF-were-you-thinking kinda junk. But it's all in good humor, I guess.
I give this huge introduction because after this incident with Dave and the talking plastic toilet that made flushing sounds, I have acquired a certain... um... appreciation, so to say, for toilets. I analyze them, I study them, and I grade them. My scale is private, and confusing, and completely senseless. But it's mine.
After I left the States and flew to Thailand (that was a Monday in May 2005), I missed Kathi, and David, and AMERICAN TOILETS. You see, regardless of whether or not American toilets were funny, interesting, boring, clean, dirty, big or small, they were regular toilets. Just like the ones we have in Colombia. A normal toilet where you sit, you do your business (hoping that everything comes out alright!), flush, and go away. Thailand... not so much.
I experienced three different Thai toilets: The petite-yet-normal-chair-style toilet, the flush-it-on-your-own toilet, and the WTF-is-a-toilet toilet.
The petite-yet-normal-chair-style toilet: It's like the one you sit in (if you live in the States, or in Colombia), but smaller. Like, any person slightly 10 kilos (or 5 pounds) overweight, would find their fat behind dripping all over the seat. It's not that the hole is particularly small, that seemed average to me (not that I have ever actually taken measurements), but the seat was just made for anorexic models or young children. I felt like saying, "Listen, Thai people, where I come from, women have curves, and BUTTS! And we need for our butts to fit on the seat..." But, alas, that was just in my mind. Had I had a Blog back then, you could bet I would have written more than one entry about it. But I could not complain much, because it worked just like a "normal" toilet does. Which I found to be wonderful, after the first time I traveled somewhere and had to use--
The flush-it-on-your-own toilet: It's your average Thai toilet (with the petite seat) but beside the toilet you have a big bucket filled with water, and a small container. After you've done your business, you pour water into the toilet, and you pour, and you pour, and you pour, and you continue to pour, until, at some moment, the "stuff" chooses to go away. I don't think I have to elaborate much more on this one--you can imagine the smell, the sight, the UGH! But that was like a Paradise Toilet when I was introduced to--
The WTF-is-a-toilet toilet: We went to an beach one time, the beautiful, amazing, hidden, magical Ko Chang. We rented the tree-house, and of course it had no toilet (it barely had electricity... but it had plenty of mice!), and we had to use the public toilet. The "public" part was no trouble, because only 5 people worked there (and one of them was an English chick), and we were no more than 20 guests, all "gringo"-looking: white, tall, light-colored eyes... Anyway. That was all cool, and I really learned to go to the bathroom anywhere after my third week in Thailand, so I went into this bathroom with no doubts. Only to run back outside and hold it until I had an option. You see, I would have said "a better option", but you can't have better when you have nothing at all. This little room had a toilet--the ceramic chair thingy--but no water, no toilet paper, no bucket, no nothing. It was over a big hole in the ground and that was that. I don't really have to elaborate on the stench...
I thought Thailand was the worst toilet-experience ever, but then I had the bright idea of visiting Korea. Except for the toilet experiences, everything about Korea was awesome (thanks, Julie-Bitch!). I remember Julie and I were riding the train from somewhere to elsewhere, and I had to go pee. Julie wished me luck. I thought it was a joke. When I got to the bathroom, I saw a big metallic box, about 1 m high (Americans, pull out your converters, I'm not doing this for you!), and as wide as the whole room (which was a little bit bigger than an airplane bathroom; no, a lot bigger, like the handicapped toilet stall, really). On the top of this box, was a toilet-seat-like seat. I figured I would not sit (girls sqwat), but I found it very hard to, um, aim properly. The seat was too high, and the train was moving and--WTF was that about? I finished, sorta, and went back to Julie, who was almost jumping up and down with excitement. "How was it?" she asked. "How was what?" I asked back. "How did you pee?" Well, Julie and I are very good friends, and I know she's into TMI, but that was WAY over the line. I gave her a look and she asked "How did you sit in order to pee?" And I told her. She laughed. She laughed so loud. It was like the best joke ever for her.
Well, you see, the Koreans have a different idea of a toilet. For them, I guess, the idea of a ceramic toilet chair, like mine, is just absurd, when all you really need is the hole--not even the seat. So I was supposed to climb that box, sqwat, and do my business there. Over a hole. On a moving train. But I thought that was only in this train, in this particular case. Nooo... we went to a Club that night, and I (again) had to pee. Julie showed me the direction of the bathroom and begged me not to sit. I looked at her like she had just begged me not to eat a raw tomato. I went to the bathroom, stood in line (apparently, it's a world-wide thing that girls take longer in the bathroom than boys, and that they must go in packs, and that there is always a line at the girls' bathroom's door), and when my turn came, I entered my stall and saw a hole in the ground. Again. Since you never sit, there is a button in the floor which you press with your foot to flush.
Being back in the States after my far-east-Asian experience, back in Dave & Kat's house, I was happy that their toilet humor was about normal, Western toilets.
Now I live in Germany. I figured that, aside from the food, I really would have nothing to worry about. But today I went to the bathroom in my new home and saw that the toilet is not a normal, Western toilet. OMG. Not again. I don't know how to describe it, so I won't. I will tell you that it flushes (I mean, you won't need a bucket of water), that the seat is average-butt-size, that it is a chair-style toilet... but, OMG. You just have to come pee in my apartment to see what I mean.
I know it may not be the nicest, sweetest, bestest, most politest thing to say, but it is the most honestest: Kathi, David, every time I go to the bathroom in my new home, I will think of you.
I miss you guys.