Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Bathroom in France

Well, the whole family moved to France last week and now the adventures really begin. The problem is that there are so many stories to tell already that I don’t know where to begin. I’ve talked about French driving, but knowing the readers of this blog like I do, I'm sure they consider cars dull, dull, dull. Readers of Daily Life really want to know about the bathroom. Let’s face facts, you all want to know about my home away from home. People want to know "How is the NEW stall #1?"

To start, the biggest difference between French and American bathrooms is that there are no stalls. I kid you not, no stalls. The bathroom has two little closets, equipped with full size doors, which contain toilets. It’s complete and utter privacy. Of course the walls are still paper thin so I can hear closet #1 farting away. But I can’t see his shoes. On the upside, it’s easier to sneak “work papers” in with you and not get caught reading them.

But, I think the biggest bathroom change I noticed this week is that people just don’t crap in this country. Swear to god, French bladders are the size of septic tanks. They must be huge because there is no traffic to/fro the room.

I’m sure you’re asking how I can make such a call. Well, you see, my new office is very nice. And because I’m the only American in the building I got the nicest office of them all… right next to the bathroom. And with such a stellar location I can easily see the comings and goings.

I think the real reason no one uses the facilities is because the bathroom is a noise fest. It’s unbelieveable how noisy the bathroom is. It starts as soon as you walk into the bathroom. You see, the door to the bathroom is quiet heavy. Which means every time it opens, and then closes, there is a huge THUD-CLUNK noise as it closes. It isn’t like America where you can sneak into the bathroom and sneak out. Oh no, if you open the door all the offices in the immediate vicinity knows that someone has gone into the bathroom.

So, the “timer” starts as soon as you open the door. But, that’s not the end of the noise in the bathroom! You see, the French use covered trash cans. They are very nice and keep unsightly trash out of… well, sight. The one in the bathroom is a very nice tin one. It’s also placed directly between two porcelain sinks. So after you wash your hands, your foot presses the little pedal to open the trash can lid and CLANG it hits the sink. Startled, your foot releases the pedal THUNK down comes the lid. I think the clanking and thunking of the trash can is just to guilt people into washing their hands.

Trust me, the walls in my office are paper thin so I can tell by the CLANGing and THUNKing and THUD-CLUNK whether people are washing their hands or not. The sad thing is, I think that the France have a higher hand-wash to non-hand-wash ratio than Americans.

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