The Eaton Diary of London    2001  

The Toilet

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Thursday, March 8.   The Toilet


The toileting theme has continued on this, our second day in London. We are getting used to the idea of the shared facilities in our accommodation complex, but are glad to use cleaner, more reliable facilities elsewhere whenever possible. But where? Today at South Kensington tube station I asked for directions to said facilities. The attendant said, 'Just outside on the traffic island, there’s a toilet - it's 20p for 15mins. Thinking that seemed like a bargain to pee for just over a p a minute, we joined the line - on the middle of a traffic island, no less! It was one of those self-washing varieties, so we waited in line while it cleaned itself. In the meantime a young mother joined the end of the line with her little boy who was having severe urgency problems, so to relieve the situation we allowed them to jump the queue. This wasn't such a bad move anyway, because it gave us an opportunity to suss the coin in the slot technique etc. The boy was so desperate that he couldn't wait for the automatic door to close behind him or anything, but they were soon on their way, much relieved and grateful for our help.

Watching all of this, now second in line, (by now I had decided my need was not at all urgent) was a beautiful young Pakistani woman who showed signs of getting very nervous. This little round room in the middle of a traffic island was becoming less and less appealing to her. She protested that she was afraid to go in. 'No, no, I can't - I'm very scared - what if the door won't open?' I assured her that we would wait and if she didn't come out again after an hour, we'd go for help. This didn't seem to comfort her at all, and since her whole being was consumed with her need for comfort, we had to try another tack. Finally she said to Margie, 'You must come in there with me.'  She wouldn't take no for an answer, but even then, Margie had to push her through the door, and follow her into a space definitely not designed to accommodate multiple persons. Her comfort and peace of mind were finally secured, the door opened for their escape, and the toilet resumed cleaning itself. She thanked Margie by saying that she was just like her mother. Ah yes, experience - that's what we're having, real life experience!




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