Traveling in Europe for the last thirty years has given me a virtual catalogue of bathroom stories, but perhaps the most interesting one goes like this…
I was at a restaurant along the Autostrade in Italy where we’d made a stop for lunch. These restaurants are located conveniently every fifty kilometers or so along the major highways in Europe. They have great food, either from a buffet or from a selection of fresh-made sandwiches, and they offer clean bathrooms. When making a tour bus stop, the first thing everyone does is rush off the bus and head to the bathroom. These restaurants (branded as Autogrill) usually have the bathrooms downstairs which are maintained by a female attendant who keeps the bathrooms sort of spotlessly clean. This “cleanliness” usually comes with a compulsory fee of fifty to eighty euro cents per visit to the toilet, but it’s a small price to pay for a clean toilet!
Well, this particular day, the restrooms were booming with business and the lady attendant was having a tough time keeping up with collecting her “tip” and keeping the bathrooms clean. So when I went downstairs and deposited my change in her dish, I noticed the ladies’ line for the toilet was about twenty deep. There was no wait for the men’s room, which I guess you ladies will say is typical.
I walked in the men’s room and headed for the urinal which was just a ceramic tiled trough against the wall. It was “backed up” with guys “going” so I did have to wait here! While waiting, there was a commotion in the hallway. Women were speaking loudly in rapid-fire Italian. only some of which I could understand. But the general tone and message was, “We’re not waiting out here any more, let’s overtake the men’s room!” Moments later, the men’s room was invaded by several Italian women looking for an open stall. Well I had to go, and now it was my turn! So up I stepped, down with the zipper, and …uhmm you get it, right? OK, now I was ready to go, but all the confusion behind me had caused a momentary “blockage.” So there I stood doing nothing! Concentrating real hard and focusing on the wall right in front of me, I began to go… relief! Then to my horror, I felt something hitting my shoes. Had I missed?
Looking down I saw a grey mop being swished back and forth between my feet, and behind me holding the handle was the lady attendant going about her business of keeping the toilets tidy!
In my next post I’ll give you some practical tips about using Toilets, Tubs, and Bidets.
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