Potty training triplets involved developing an astute awareness of the nearest location of public restrooms. During those first few months of independent toileting the words “I got to go” echoed through my brain.
Wherever we went I seemed to spend my time running to and from the bathroom, escorting one of my trio to their throne. As I responded to all those urgent tinkling needs, I developed an appreciation for America’s abundance of toilets, bathrooms, rest rooms, loos, or whatever you choose to call the facilities.
Yes, I am going to christen America, the ‘Land of Toilets’. Every time my sister visits from Ireland, she praises America for its numerous, clean bathrooms. So, here are my reasons for loving American toilets.
Rest stops line the highway system, at well-paced intervals. You never have to drive for miles on end, in search of a clean loo. There is always a toilet at a gas station, a restaurant, or a rest stop.
Ireland has built some beautiful new motorways in the past ten years, but unfortunately the rest area plan was not completed at the same time as the roadways.
Toilets in America are free. One of my pet peeves in Dublin, is when I am absolutely dying to use the facilities – you know, when you think your eyeballs are turning a light, shade of primrose – and you discover you have to pay a euro to go. There is nothing worse than standing cross-legged, as you rummage through your purse for change. Spending a penny has been adversely affected by inflation. The privilege now requires a whole euro.
This year when we were in Ireland, I finally found the toilets on the tip-top floor of the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center in Dublin. I rummaged through my purse trying to find my wallet for the requisite euro, while my four little ones crossed their legs and waited with a worried frown on each little face. The attendant looked at them, then at me, before ushering us in quickly without payment. Their frantic four-year old dancing did the trick.
In America toilets are simply called ‘toilet’ or ‘rest room’, and not by the most confusing European term of all – ‘water closet’ or ‘WC’.
Many Irish directional signs, just display a big ‘WC ‘and an arrow. American tourists must be bewildered by where Irish toilets are hidden.
And trust me, public rest rooms are few and far between in Ireland when you get out of the large cities. A pub is your best bet in a small town, but usually you are expected to buy something, not just waltz in to use the ‘WC’.
Thankfully, the toilet will not be a hole in the ground in America. What more can I say on this topic? I think the picture says it all!
Toilets are clean, and 99% of the time there will be soft toilet paper, not the crinkly, scraping, nonabsorbent, cheapo kind, sometimes provided in Ireland.
No self-cleaning, cubicle-spraying device is going to ambush you, if you fail to leave the premises in a timely fashion. Paris is proud of the availability of self-cleaning toilets throughout the city. In Paris I used the facilities in a state of sheer anxiety, staring at the spray nozzles, in deadly fear one would spit even the tiniest of warning drops.
The sign to the left reads: “These toilets are automatically washed, disinfected and dried.” Whatever you do, don’t open the door, change your mind, then close it again without exiting.
A handle, a pull chain, a button or a remote-control, tooshy detector creates a flush of formidable force in the good old USA. I visited India many moons ago. No automatic flushes guaranteed there. Most of the time a bucket or pail stood beneath a faucet. You filled the bucket with water, then emptied it down the hole-in-the-ground toilet to take care of business. A non-splash, pouring technique took many attempts to master.
American toilet cubicles are spacious, unlike some of their European counterparts. In Ireland toilets have been added to some extremely old buildings, in very tight quarters. It’s a breath-holding, butt-squeezing, tummy-tucking maneuver, to re-zip a pair of jeans in some Irish public restrooms. There’s no resting in there, if you plan to return to public view looking anyway respectable.
And so I say thank you to America, for an abundance of toilets. During the trying months of potty training three children, you made my life a little easier.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom