Oh, I want pee-pee!

DamenEvery housewife knows that the real sign of her adequate housekeeping is sanitary state of kitchen and WC. Smell of toilet can narrate story about  lodgers, as single bone can help paleontologist create picture of dinosaur. Human body is a system of exchange with environment where nor input of nourishment neither output of excretion can be neglected. In general terms, metabolism of living organisms is process of extraction of sun energy from outer space, where all derivatives of this process have equal value.
It is considered to be low to write about excretion and talk about it in society. But feces, as waste products, eliminated from our body, besides bacteria and microorganisms contain particles of our digestive tract, that means they are true product of our biological creative activity. When reading diaries of Salvador Dali, one can see artist paid special attention to his feces and observed them with interest as manifestation of his body creativity. Considering topic of toilets and its sanitary from global point of view, one can keep in mind absence of metaphysical  difference between nutritional inputs and outputs of our body as part of eternal energy circulation. Thoroughly washed apple we are chewing now accumulated range of layers of previous generations urine and feces, as well as air we breath, had multiple times come through millions of other lungs.
There is also social aspect of  problem.
They say, you can judge a nation by its toilets. Development of civilization and sanitation were always interconnected. Today I consider subject of clean, warm and convenient toilets to be as important as other social concerns like literacy, poverty, education and employment.
Afro-American top-model Waris Dirie in her autobiographical book describes the shock she got when coming back to Somali after years spent in USA, she visited normal Somali squat toilet with hordes of flies. At the territory of former USSR, one can see till now many squat public toilets, often very dirty with numerous writings at the walls, including curse and poems, which gives idea that process of excretion was always connected in mind of soviet people with literary activity.

It seems also railway lavatories have never been clean in this country. When you decide to make romantic trip in Trans-Siberian Express, or  travel to Central Asia and China from Moscow, prepare plugs for your nose, which you will need in nightmare toilets, were railway personal not concerned much with questions of hygiene and where toilet paper and soap are luxuries.
The history of toilets is obscure. Hundreds of years people used natural facilities and grass, stones and sand instead of toilet paper. Even in the XVIII century neighboring bushes often served in Versailles as a place to ease. The first water closet in Europe was installed in 1860 in the rooms of Queen Victoria in Coburg, Germany, and queen was the only one who was allowed to use it.
I wonder, why there are so a few free public conveniences in Vienna, and especially conveniences for women? During my long raids as street photographer, I was often confronted with the problem of fruitless search for them. Situation was much better in provincial Graz.
Many public toilets have nowadays so-called Euroschließsystem with 50 cents coin lock, otherwise person of responsibility sits inside and takes the same fee. Automatic lock helps you preserve your privacy, as communication to lady in charge gives strange nuances to the process of urinating in close vicinity to supervision behind cubicle door, but locked door of toilet without personal is merciless in case you burst out and can not find 50 cents to insert in the slot.
Women tend to have more problems with bladder as result of suppressed urination, and need more time for whole affair, though there is always equal quantity of loos for both genders, plus pissoirs exclusively for men, why during festivities the line to lady’s room is always doubled.
Many cafes and restaurants have cramped toilets with old facilities, in controversy to pompous showy atmosphere of main rooms. And every time confronted with problem of output needs, which can never be promptly satisfied in the city, I had a feeling of free energy flow inhibited, and also feeling of penalty I got for mere wish to urinate.
There was popular anecdote about Central Asian nomads, who came to socialism of soviet empire without being spoilt by urbanization.
Family of mountain shepherd got new flat in big city house. When he was asked how it was, he replied his family lived as before in nomad tent put it in the center of dining room. When he was asked how he liked his new WC, he told his family used space behind the tent for this purpose as before. All laughed at stupidity of nomad, who demonstrated in grotesque form nothing more than natural wisdom of body substance exchange with environment.

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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