What the hell is that on the floor?

Long brown balancing rock formationMaybe we had altitude dementia? Or maybe not. But at 3.00 am at 36,000 feet on a long flight back to Australia, my sister and I went absolutely stir crazy. Huddled under our little blankets giggling our noggins off, we woke our Dad sitting in front of us, as well as other passengers in our vicinity. We couldn’t help it. Have you ever tried to stifle hysterics? It only makes you laugh harder. That was us.

My sister needed to go to the toilet, and if you’ve ever used an aeroplane toilet and you are female, it’s not fun. If you are a male, I suggest you try this so you know what I’m talking about …

  • Grab a cactus in a pot and put it on the roof of your car on a gravel road, and have your mate ready to accelerate behind the wheel. (Not that a toilet seat is a cactus, but the pain of sitting in someone else’s urine puddle comes mighty close for a woman!)
  • Climb onto the roof of the car.
  • Now pull down your pants – no part of your clothing can touch the floor or it becomes soaked in a complete stranger’s filthy DNA. So you need to balance the clothing between your knees and ankles.
  • Now squat backwards and hover your nether-region just above the cactus, trying not to let your dangly bits touch the prickles.
  • Now … yell out to your mate to hit the accelerator on that bumpy road.
  • Then stay in that position for 30 seconds!

Now you know what it’s like for a woman going to the toilet in an aeroplane. Anyway, back to my story …

So my sister goes to the toilet and the “occupant” forgot to lock the door. She walks in to see a poor Indian lady “hovering” in the above position. She looks at my sister with sheer terror on her face as Sister quickly reverses and shuts the door. She scurries to the next toilet.

Now it’s my sister’s turn to be in the “hovering” position. Whilst suspended in that state she notices a vile stench permeating the cubicle. She can feel bile bubbling in her innards, but manages to hold it in. “What is that smell? It’s not coming from me”, she thinks. She looks around the tiny room and her eyes focus on an object on the floor. She focuses on the “log”. It’s a big brown turd! Just resting there. On its lonesome. She can’t help it and she starts laughing uncontrollably. She pictures this …

A poor soul high above the midnight clouds. Hovering over the same toilet in the same cubicle. And just when their “object” was about to leave their body, turbulence strikes! And the “object” starts swinging like a pendulum. Left. Right. Left. And all of a sudden it’s hanging by a point mid-swing, and then it’s released! It flings off and somersaults over the top of the stainless-steel bowl and lands on the floor. Intact.

My Sister runs back to our seat with her hand over her mouth. By the time she tells me her story, we are both out of control. We have gone mad. We are over-tired!

It was the funniest way to end our 4 weeks abroad.

© CEW 2015

I fought a bidet. I lost.

toilet bidet squirting waterI had a fight with a Japanese toilet and I lost in a most spectacular fashion!  I’m not talking about their public toilets that are a hole in the ground which one must squat over at one’s peril … and pray one aims in the right direction.  I’m referring to their technologically advanced electronic toilets.

Just before I went to Japan on business I had a crash course in protocols and Japanese customs.  I would be “home-stayed”, meaning I would live in the home of a Japanese senior official (of equal status to me).  I would bathe in the bathwater first as the honoured guest (before the rest of the family would use it), I should never write on a business card (an insult) and there would be an official exchanging of gifts (etiquette), just to name a few.    But nobody told me about their toilets!

I arrived at my host family’s home where the whole family greeted me dressed in their finest. There was a lot of bowing and head nodding.  They did not speak English.  I did not speak Japanese.  We spent the afternoon sitting in their lounge room.  Smiling.  Nodding.  And smiling more.  It was very formal.  I eventually excused myself to use the water closet, which they’d pointed out to me earlier.

The Incident

I opened the little door to the little throne room and stepped over the threshold.  This was no ordinary toilet.  This one had an electronic control panel!  Wow, I could be in the Starship Enterprize.  The only thing I recognised in this room was the toilet seat – ye auld familiar friend.  I took care of my afternoon ablutions with the deflating of my overextended bladder and took a moment to contemplate my day, chuckling at the electronic panel.  What were all the buttons for with Japanese writing on them?  I recalled being told that some toilet seats are heated in Japan so you could heat your toosh on a cold day.  I was at the bottom of Mt Fuji where is snowed, maybe it was a fancy heating panel, thought I.  I stood and righted my clothing and went to flush the toilet.  My hand suspended in mid air … there was no button.  I surveyed the top of the toilet, the sides, I even glanced at the ceiling {well, you never know!}.  I was baffled.  I couldn’t find the flush button anywhere.

I could hear the theme song from Jaws in my head as I slowly turned to glance at the control panel.  Oh please Dear Lord, not the control panel!  Was I supposed to push one of those buttons?  I thought…yes.  But which one?  I studied them carefully.  I noticed there was a blue button and a pink button.  My logic won out.  I deduced that if you are a boy you push the blue button, and if you are a girl you push the pink button.  Problem solved!  I am a girl.  Pink button it is!  I pushed.   Silence.

Just as I was contemplating my next move I noticed a steel rod descending from the back of the toilet bowl. What is that?  I’d never seen anything like it.  I bent and peered closely at aforementioned steel rod.  It halted.  I inched closed, and still closer, face peering at the alien appendage.  What in the …..

A huge gush of water under high pressure blasted me straight in the face, hosing my contact lens out!  I went into a panic because the water did not stop!  It was blasting upwards like a burst fire hydrant.  Without thought I grabbed it with my hand, and still, it would not stop.  Now the water was spraying all over the room and gushing out between my fingers.  The floor was flooding, water was running downs the walls, my hair was dripping, and my clothes were wet.  I COULDN’T STOP THE FLOW!  Should I wrench the rod out?  Using my other hand I began wildly hammering the buttons on the control panel.  Thank goodness … the water finally stopped.  My breathing was fast and shallow, a sign of my distressed state.

I stood there stunned for long moments.  Gathering my courage around me, and with a wildly fluttering unfocused right eye, I walked back to the lounge room where my host family awaited.  I walked into that room looking vastly different from when I left.  I needed to explain what happened, but how, when we did not understand each other’s language.  I was never good at Charades, but you should have seen the way I explained what I’d just done.  It was an Oscar winning performance!

I stayed with this beautiful family for the week.  I’m sure I will be remembered as the strange Australian who cleansed her face with their bidet.  They will be remembered as the family who made the strange Australian who couldn’t use a toilet feel at home, despite her most embarrassing moment.  EVER!
©2015 CEW


Originally posted on my old blog site.