A recently arrived foreigner’s first encounter with the squatter
“It’s not a cry that you hear at night, it’s not somebody who’s seen the light, it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.” Leonard Cohen
Hallelujah! was the word I uttered, that escaped from my lips, near-beaten and bedraggled, as after a frantic twenty-minute search I finally found what I was looking for, the public toilet! Sweat cascading, temples throbbing, vision blurred, I’d searched the streets for a place to satisfy that basic human need; to go! to unload! to drop the kids off at the pool! Call it what you will, I was desperate man new to this foreign land. I pushed the door open, expecting to find a comfy throne, only to find, well, not much more that a hole in the ground. This was it ﾐ the fabled squatter! Close to touching cloth, I had little choice; we were going in! Fire in the hole!
But – which is front and which is back? Either way it’s hard to balance. I figured face-front as I reckoned clutching onto the pipes might save me from falling in. Second problem ﾐ what do you do with your pants? Surely they get splattered ﾐ or so bunched up you lose balance and fall in? To me it was obvious, I took one pant leg off and flipped it over my left shoulder. Not the most graceful, but points for style were the least of my worries!
Next, do I really want to sit and look at what I’ve just digested? Is this healthy? If you’re a delicate flower like me, you’ll have to use the two-flush system, one to whisk away the first whiff of your glory, so to speak, and a second for the grand finale. Be careful too of squatter whiplash, another peril of the first-whiff, which can cause the head to snap violently back. But in spite of all this, I struggled on and somehow made it through. And so, alas, I’d lost my squatter cherry, and since that fateful day I’ve come to respect, if not quite love the squatter. I guess it must be something about getting closer to our (recently) inner selves.
Toilet Trivia (as gleaned from the Internet)
1. Thomas Crapper is the man accredited with inventing the modern flush toilet, in the 1870s, though some dispute the claim. What a name! A man, a plan, a commode!
2. The first time movie audiences were treated to a flushing toilet was in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 release of “Physcho!”
3. The first toilet to appear on TV was featured during an episode of “Leave It To Beaver”, the 1950s American sitcom.
4. Toilets are accountable for 10% of all recorded deaths by drowning.
5. Many of you will know that Elvis met his maker whilst on the loo.
6. The toilet roll was invented in China in 879 (true!). This coincided with the Great Leaf Shortage of the same year. (untrue!)
7. In Switzerland, it is illegal to flush the toilet after 10 P.M. if you live in an apartment.