The Return and Impending Departure of Your Man On the Can

The Return and Impending Departure of Your Man On the Can

From Thursday, I shall be pooing in America for a month, and I thought you might like to be kept informed. I will endeavour to keep a somehwat regular log, but it has been a while since my last deposit here, so to grease the skids, I shall first attempt a review of a local loo which I used for the first time recently.

During a moonlit stroll to kick the wall at the end of the Salthill Promenade, I found myself caught somewhat short, and was thus drawn to the bright lights of the public bathrooms beside the Blackrock diving board.

The 20cent entry seemed a very fair price to pay for some privacy and relief. The last time I attempted to do my business outside, midway through the proceedings, I adjusted my footing and stood on an anthill, and in the ensuing chaos, I shook my sandal off into a distant thicket in Norway. To clarify — I was in the wood in Norway at the start of the incident, and am not suggesting I possess superhuman leg-shaking strength and ought to be signed immediately for Liverpool football club, though I’m not saying that would be a bad idea either.

This was, however, the Ryanair of toilets, and included no toilet paper. Not having had the foresight to bring with me a newspaper, dock leaf, or copy of Knight’s Atari*, I had no choice but to cut my losses and venture to the next booth. Having spent my last 20cent piece, I was forced to part with a full euro coin to enter, and as I did so, I wondered whether this were perhaps some sick psychological experiment. This booth, however, did come replete with paper, so I did not end up taking out a second mortgage on a house that I do not have.

The booth had a motion-sensor activated light, to save the planet, and this promptly flicked off when I was evidently standing too still while creating a paper shield for the toilet seat, one begrudgingly dispensed sheet of two-ply at a time. Quite what manner of bewildered jig was expected of me to keep the light on for the duration, I am not fully sure.

In other time-sensitive quirks, there was a countdown timer on the door directly opposite the toilet, which you could watch as its fifteen minutes ticked down, in case you needed a little extra pressure to move things along. This is not a complaint — a visible timer is preferable by far to those public toilets which seem to choose some arbitrary and unannounced length of time to spew you ignominiously back onto the street.

Indeed, as I watched haphazardly and hurried, the timer display flicked off and started counting down from 15 again. It is quite possible that I was being awarded five fifteen-minute slots for my euro, but a part of me wondered somewhat gleefully if I had somehow managed to hack the toilet’s software system.** Sadly, I could not afford to hang around to find out, as I suspect my date must already have been getting impatient waiting by this point.

As I made my way to the sink, I noticed there was a slot near the ceiling for disposing of your old needles and razor blades, and at a more accessible level, a button labelled “Reset flush”. I did not press it, but I was curious. If any of our intrepid readers would like to investigate, do let me know how it goes.

The sink itself was one of those comprehensive units built into the wall, where you theoretically hold your hands in place as the unit sequentially administers liquid soap, water, and hot air, so all you have to do is rub your hands together. This one, however, seemed defective, as the water came so immediately after the soap that I did not have time to spread the soap around, and then straight after the water came soap again, and so, I found myself trapped in this vicious cycle of wet but really, really clean hands. In the end, defying the sign on the wall which mocked “Leave hands in place until dry”, I gave up and wiped my hands on my trousers and hoped my date would not get prematurely handsy.

 

In conclusion, I would not say the toilet is particularly glamorous, but it makes up for it in convenience. Convenience if you are out on the Salthill prom, that is, as opposed to in, say, France. The privacy is very good — provided you remember to lock the door, and conclude your business in a timely fashion. Certainly compared to American public restrooms, where, if you are lucky, the area between your knees and your shoulders is not as available to the general public as if it were featured on the nine o’clock news… but I shall no doubt moan about that further in the near future.
The facility is as reasonably clean as one can expect of one used by the general public. There isn’t really much to write home about in the way of entertainment, but my cell signal seemed fine, had I needed to call for assistance or play Angry Turds (I thought I was being clever, but it seems this game actually exists… ah well). Ergonomically, the toilet was a little high for comfortable squatting, and set very close to the wall, which is fine so long as you don’t think about everyone else who been squashed up against it before you.

Overall, I would give this loo 6.5/10, and would readily recommend it to friends if they were passing and were caught short. Maybe bring some toilet paper with you.

 

*Feel free to vote for the book of your choice, and I can update the article as necessary. Please appreciate, also, how I avoided the obvious cheap joke at the expense of certain maligned university courses, for fear of alienating our literate readership.

**You may scoff, but it would not be a first for me. Last summer I rescued a lady locked in a public bathroom by a Norwegian motorway (that is to say, beside the motorway, rather than to imply the motorway had malevolently captured her and imprisoned her thus — Norwegian motorways are lovely), using only my NUIG library card and a pair of sandals.

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Peru Poo Two

Peru Poo Two

OCTOBER 8TH
This is one of the other bathrooms in the apartment we stayed in. As you can perhaps see despite my inferior photography skills, it was substantially nicer than mine. Still, given that I had needed to unblock the loo, it was probably better that my bathroom was in an out-of-the-way corner of the apartment.
Interestingly, the flush on this was different to that in what I shall perhaps overly-affectionately refer to as “my bathroom”. The latter was similar to what we are familiar with, with a flush from just under the rim of the bowl, whereas this one pushes the jet of water from the bottom of the bowl. Further, there was no set amount of water per flush – it stopped as soon as you stopped pressing the handle. I did not try to see what would happen if I kept the handle pressed until the toilet overflowed. This system has the advantage that it seems a little better at moving along whatever is lurking at the bottom of the bowl, but it seems incapable of dealing with that last little sheet of paper that remains floating on the water’s surface.

This toilet was located at a bus station in Lima, and damned right I wanted to use it before embarking on an 18 hour bus trip to Arequipa. It wasn’t a particularly glamorous toilet – no hook to hang my coat on, for example – but nevertheless, there was a queue, which moved along pretty speedily.
Apparently, you are supposed to bin toilet paper in Peru, rather than flush it. See how this diagram conveniently exhibits both methods. The claim is that Peruvian toilets and sewage system can’t handle the toilet paper, but I don’t believe that, and will continue to flush.
Binning toilet paper is all well and good if you’ve only used it to dab yourself dry, or to wipe after a dry and traceless shite, but if you have a runny-stool-covered quarter roll of paper, no one’s going to want to have to sit beside that stewing in a bin beside them.
I stumbled across this impressive site which lists what one ought to do with one’s used toilet paper in every country of the world.

The toilet on the bus was not actually so bad – rather like an airplane toilet. Fortunately, I chose a moment when the bus was stopped at a light or something to make a pee, because the journey was not smooth, and I nearly fell down the aisle when the bus took off again as I exited the bathroom. I do not know how others managed to stand straight enough to urinate into the tiny toilet. It was requested that the loo only be used for urination, but with our seats at the very back of the bus, beside the loos, we were fairly certain this was not adhered to.

This next loo was in the bus station in Arequipa. You can actually see some of my pee there in the urinal. I didn’t particularly think you’d want to see that, but there was no obvious flush mechanism. Who knows, perhaps this will help us break into the German market.

We made our way to our apartment, and were greeted by this rather decorated toilet. Obviously I blocked it. I think if I ever design a toilet, it will feature some sort of bar or blade above the waterline, so that any particularly large stools will be split in twain on the way down, and will then flush easier. It would also diminish splashback. This toilet was not so difficult to unblock – a couple of bins full of water (the only convenient receptacle I could find was the bin in the bathroom), the blockage finally made its way onward toward the local river, or the water supply or whatever. The inconvenience of dealing with the blockage was not great, though I did feel some guilt over all the water I was using, in this sun-scorched, arid town. Still, needs must…

Anyway, I fortunately subsequently contracted diarrhoea, so the toilet has not been blocked by any of my many subsequent visits. I was laughed at for packing a roll of toilet paper in my luggage, since everywhere we would stay would have some, but it has come in useful. I also purchased some baby cream in a local supermarket to aid with absterging. At least, it seems to be like baby cream which is suitable for arse-wiping. With unfamiliar names and an unfamiliar language, I could not be entirely certain what manner of unguent I was buying to apply to my anus – a dangerous enterprise. I first tested some on the skin of my arm, and suffered no disastrous consequences, and it is now some eight hours since I first applied the lotion to my arse and I am not yet in agony, so I remain cautiously optimistic in that regard.
The diarrhoea inspires less optimism – I have decided to bail on the rafting trip down the Chili river which we have booked for this afternoon, and it remains to be seen what happens tomorrow, when we are due to take a 10-hour bus-trip to the city of Cusco, with its promises of altitude sickness. If the diarrhoea has not cleared, I fear I may have to opt to stay in Arequipa for the week, leaving my brother and father to go on ahead, and foregoing my chance to see Macchu Pichu.

How To Unblock A Toilet

How To Unblock A Toilet

Editors’ Note: In this article, for the first time ever, Knight’s Atari have taken heed of our readers’ repeated complaints about our “f*cking asterisks”, and provided convenient links between the text and footnotes. Your feedback matters to us.
  

As the honeymoon period of living with new housemates gradually wears off, many of you will start to find that the blocked toilet becomes harder and harder to ignore. Since all the cool social justice warriors are poorly driving the feminism bandwagon these days, I’ll start this article with a nod to gender equality*, and even a footnote for the gays, before subtly segueing into some permutation of whatever other doubtlessly salient points I have to make on the subject of unblocking a toilet.

76% of blocked toilets on campus are caused by males. Males are bigger, therefore they eat more and make bigger poops. On top of that, literally, they add more toilet paper because they invariably have more hirsute arses which are more difficult to wipe clean and deshitnuggetify.** I’m sorry, gender quota advocates, but that’s just the way it is. 83% of people of who poo on the bathroom floor instead of in the toilet are female or Asian, if that helps. Another oft unaddressed issue is that a man’s eye can distinguish between fewer colours than a woman’s can, especially in dimly lit public bathrooms, so while a woman in her cubicle, squinting at the toilet paper, can see as the afterwipe colour changes through Intense Chestnut, Hazelnut Truffle, ┬áLeather Satchel, Muted Mocha, Perfectly Taupe, Gentle Fawn, Elderflower Tea, and white,*** a man must (obviously) err on the side of caution as he sees brown, brown, light brown, orange, yellow, yellow, looks white, looks white, probably is white, is almost definitely white but best give another wipe just to be sure… resulting in squandered toilet paper. I was amazed at how much toilet paper I saved when I would have my girlfriend or mother assess the colour of my pieces of toilet paper post-wipe, and probably used an average of six sheets of paper less than I otherwise would have.

Furthermore, we all know girls only defecate fairies and rainbows, which, given their ethereal nature, are not likely to cause obstruction. Instead, females’ toilet blockages are caused by flushed tampons, dead cats, pubic hair, and the swaddlings of toilet paper she buries her suffocated fairies and shame in.

Regardless of whatever form your genitalia may take, sometimes you just come home to find a bison**** has made use of your facilities, as captured in this sketch by Dr. Kevin.
bison

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