You can blame editor Ray Kisonas for this one. If he hadn’t offered his commentary on the state of gas station restrooms, I wouldn’t have recalled some restrooms I found on my travels. Found wanting too often.
The room in Paris was adequate and clean. It was located on the left bank, close to the places I wanted to visit. The doorman threw my bags into the room and walked away at a rather alarming speed. He ran away, ignoring the tip I tried to offer,
I unpacked my clothes, then headed to the bathroom to put away my toiletries and makeup. I stood in the bathroom doorway trying to figure out what was wrong. Sometimes if you look up, clarity comes. I did and it did. The room had five walls, none of which were the same length.
A French plumber with a distaste for tourists had been hired to install the toilet, bath, sink and bidet. At first glance, it looked like he had done a good job. It was all firmly anchored to the ground as far as I could tell.
Having been bounced off all the worst sidewalks in town in a taxi driven by a maniacal guy with one eye, I needed to use the ‘ease’. It was then that I realized how much hate this plumber had visited in the bathroom. To sit on the toilet, you had only two options: you could sit on it IF you put your right foot in the bidet or you could sit sideways if you put both feet in the tub.
This, of course, has given rise to many possibilities for efficient use of the bathroom.
If your feet are tired from walking for miles on sidewalks, carefully dodging animal deposits, you can sit on the toilet, put some hot water in the tub, and soak your feet while tackling a game of crosswords.
If you wanted to shave your right leg, you could do it cleanly by sitting on the toilet and leaning over the task with your foot in the bidet. Your left leg should be treated in another way. It seemed like a decent enough plan, so grabbing my shaving cream and razor, I sat down and stuck my right foot in the bidet (yes, I know what bidets are for). I turned on the bidet faucet and learned very quickly that this absent plumber hadn’t in fact anchored the bidet to the floor or hooked up the drain hose underneath. Hot water was gushing out of the faucet and within seconds the water was flooding the floor.
For a terrible moment, I was afraid of the origin of this hot water. I quickly turned off the bidet faucet and managed to get up, grab a towel, and dry my leg. Then the towel went to the floor to slow down the tsunami that was heading towards the bedroom.
What kind of plumber would sabotage a hotel bathroom? Couldn’t he have had fun swapping the hot and cold symbols in his own guest bath? Couldn’t he have made do with half a bottle of Merlot for breakfast instead of gulping it down before the start of his professional day?
I called the hotel reception to explain what was happening in my bathroom. My French skills are non-existent. But I hoped I was shouting loud enough in English with a Midwestern accent to tell him the problem.
The receptionist kept saying, “Yes, yes, Madam, yes.” I thought she understood me. We hung up and within five minutes there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find the doorman standing there with a small package in his hand.
He pushed it at me and ran down the hall. I opened the package to find three foil-wrapped pregnancy prevention items.
Obviously, my explanation was not correctly interpreted. I have to study French.
I would like to write a few articles about how random decisions, or just chance, can create something wonderful. Something inexplicable. Please email me your stories at [email protected] I look forward to hearing from you.