Monday, April 19, 2010

let's get skatological

apologies in advance for today's topic but this has to be discussed: the backwards platform toilets of berlin.
when i was a child i used to draw stick figures on a sailboat. stick figures were happily peeing and pooping into the wavy seas, their brown cacas landing with a colorful splash, much to the delight of my giggling brother.
as residents of the western world, we are accustomed to pooping/peeing into water. the occasional unfortunate backsplash are part of our everyday lives. soooo, you can imagine one's perplexion when, ok, i'm going to come out and say it - you're pooping onto a dry porcelain shelf. what the....?
there it is, your little creation, not floating in water, but rather coiled or plopped, sitting there in open air, probably stinking as it is proudly displayed on a white smooth surface, while the water hole thing is totally in the wrong spot. oh look, i've eaten corn! what the f? 
i've seen a bunch of these contraptions (thankfully not in my house) in the poshier west berlin jaunts, old cafes, pre-war altbaus. i don't get it. are we supposed to inspect our excrement for dysentary or discoloration? could this have been intended to help retrieval of one's family treasures ingested to hide from the nazis or something?
you can only hope that the water pressure flush has enough momentum to move the thing down the pipe, otherwise that's a rather uncomfortable situation i'd prefer to not even think about. shudder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

word on the wiki is that "In Germany and the Netherlands the bowl is designed to hold the fecal matter out of the water prior to flushing by means of a receiver shelf, whereas most standard designs (U.S., UK) immediately allows it to plunge into standing water. This reverse design greatly increases associated odor and requires the use of a brush after each use to clean the shelf. Similar designs are found is some early toilets in the U.S., one particular brand being labeled the "Grand Niagara", as the flushing of the shelf creates a waterfall effect into the drain chamber." Useful in identifying parasites and catching loose change.