Sunday, January 9, 2011


My mother would turn over in her final resting place. Mr. Bob will be disgusted when he reads this, but the rebel in me is going to go ahead with my chosen subject today. It wasn't my intent when I set out to work on this daily entry, but as I riffled through my photographs, it became clear that a piece on bathrooms could be handled with good judgment.

When the Crones, our group of wise old women, met in November and went around the circle, taking turns telling what caused us to give thanks, I wasn't looking for the response of laughter that it received when I said that nary a day goes by in which I'm not profoundly grateful for indoor plumbing. And that's the truth!

As a child I experienced life with an outhouse on my uncle's farm and the novelty wore off with the first visit. My whole long life I've operated with just one bathroom in a household of people and while it worked out okay, one of my dreams was to have 2 bathrooms when we moved into a retirement facility. It was not to be and I'll have to be content with the realization that 1 bathroom is far superior to having to weather the elements to get to where I'm headed.

This is as good a time as any to tell you that in my shopkeeping days, once a year I disregarded Mr. Bob's objection and in our smallest of 3 display windows I made a 5 foot tall pyramid, using rolls of snowy, white toilet paper, leaving little ledges as I stacked them and on those makeshift shelves I placed books on the subject of toilet training for toddlers. We sold quite a few books that way and if nothing else, it was a traffic stopper for pedestrians who didn't know such books existed.

Men don't need to be so discerning, but most women I know are very particular about what public restrooms they use. I found one in Arroyo Grande which became a regular stop on our travels from south to north. It was very plain, but clean inside and the outside added several points to its rating. Add to that the fact that colorful chickens roam about the parking lot, and the stop is a real winner.

Another good place, when I can't talk Mr. Bob into traveling on the more interesting, but slower, Hwy. 101, can be found at Pyramid Lake's Visitors' Center on Hwy. 5. Because I've always been the main photographer on trips, I sometimes have to take a picture of myself just to remember that I was there.

I'm not the only one who succumbs to such temptation. Witness Mr. Bob's self portrait, portrait, portrait, portrait, portrait .............. taken in, of all places, our local car wash's restroom.

I'm waiting for America to latch on to the European idea of self-cleaning restrooms right there on sidewalks. It's often been said that the city of San Francisco is more reminiscent of cities in Europe than any other American metropolitan area and sure enough that's where I spied the following:

None of this " est la salle de bains?" for those folks.


  1. I'm glad I'm not alone in my 'interest' in toilet facilities !
    I have to say those self cleaning ones terrify me, I always have visions of the toilet going into cleaning mode before I leave !

  2. When I was in the Netherlands, it was the first I discovered toilet seats wrapped in plastic, and after every use, new, clean plastic appeared in its place from an attached mechanism. I was duly impressed. Have you seen the photos of the street commodes that inside have one-way mirrors, so you feel as if the world is right there with you!? I don't know how I'd feel about that! hahaaaa!

  3. The one way mirror would be great for exhibitionists, of which I, thankfully, am not one. About the plastic wrapped seats. The few I've experienced made me suspicious that the plastic just went round and round. How would one be sure?

  4. At one stage in our married life, every cross country journey was navigated via known 'rest-room' stops.
    Any new ones appearing were duly noted in the emergency booklet.
    The Dorsettlers

  5. That first picture on the page is exquisite.

  6. LOL great shots! A Non O Mouse

  7. There are very FEW public restrooms that I will ever use! I've been known to walk in- and right back out- of a restroom. I have a very low gag threshold, and if it is not clean, I cannot tolerate it. It is definitely good to know about "acceptable" restrooms on any trip! I have also thought the same thing about those plastic wrapped toilet seats. (They have them in O'Hare, which has VERY CLEAN bathrooms!

  8. Funny thing. I have cleaned many a disgusting restroom at McDonald's during my 21 years and some i can remember vividly. I would never make an employee do something i would not in i went!! I do remember in France/Germany? then in Switzerland how right across the tracks there was a yuck bathroom and then in Switzerland an attendant who opened the door,( did not wipe you :-)), but he cleaned after ever person, sprayed, offer of perfumes and it was immaculate!!! He had a towel draped across his arm and was there to met your needs. Of course we tipped him. But sadly, those pictures were in the film of the camera that was stolen from me on the train to the ice caves....thanks Jane for the memories!!

  9. One of my favorite restrooms in the world still has to be the men's room in the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. There is always a line of women waiting for the men's room to clear so they can take a peek at the waterfall urinal. My mom taught Timi and I when we were just little that you never touched the flusher or the door handle on a public restroom...but always used TP or paper towels for that filthy job. Joanne T.

  10. I like this post very much, Jane.
    I keep thinking of writing one about public restrooms in my area.
    Checking how their conditions have improved in the last 25 years is one of the best signs to confirm that now we are a really European country! ;-)