I have. I really have. But today was the tipping point.
I'm gonna talk about toilets.
What IS it about Russian toilets that they defy all efforts to stay clean? Just who, exactly, designed them so that nothing enters them in such a way as to efficiently exit them again without requiring a thorough scrubbing after each use?
I had this discussion with one of my favorite expats almost a year ago. This is how long I have been sitting on this topic, so to speak.
We came to the subject is a slightly oblique manner. We were talking about toilet to floorspace ratios and buffer zones. Because we both had smallish apartments (by American standards), and those apartments each had only one toilet.
Once, I lived in a house with six toilets. In Slovakia. But that is over the top even for an American.
Anyhow, how is it, we pondered, that while IN our Moscow toilets (for now we both have toilets that are separate from the rest of what I would call a "bathroom"), we are convinced that every sound, even the quietest sound, even the sound of one square of toilet paper floating gently towards the floor, is broadcast in THX throughout the entire apartment.
Yet if anyone else is in the toilet, we cannot hear anything. They could be giving birth. Or butchering a hog. I could be standing right outside the door.
And hear NOTHING.
This is a mystery of Russian design. And the miracle of close-quarters communal living.
So why can't they design a proper commode?
Favorite Expat felt that not only did the toilet bowl defy cleaning, but it was impossible to use without being, well, splashed. "It's awful!" she sobbed.
She says her husband suggested what he called "the Fisherman's Friend" (I think. It was something clever like that.).
"Just build yourself a little raft of paper," he told her. "Problem solved."
Did I mention here that we had this conversation at noon on a Friday in the Oktyabrskaya Starlite Diner?
We didn't get thrown out for making excessive noise while laughing, but the management had every right to protect the other customers from Toilet Talk During a Meal. The Spouse is nodding knowingly as I type this, as he believes I can turn even the most innocent conversation to the scatological and that mealtimes are especially dangerous with me if you are at all squeamish.
We did the raft thing in Slovakia where five of the six toilets in that house were what we came to learn were "Austrian" or "shelf" style. Blame Freud if you must, but the Austrians seem to have a penchant for self-examination of the most intimate kind. Below is a good example:
My Russian toilet looks deceptively normal.
So apologies for the topic today. We now return to our regular program.
Waiting... - *In October on Manezh Square, outside of the Kremlin* It's the final countdown until the Olympics... Here's a link to an article that was in the "Russia ...
4 years ago