Sunday, August 10, 2008

Waste triumphs and traumas

It's finally happened! I booked into a hotel that doesn't have a pedal bin in the accessible bathroom! (as in wheelchair user = mobility impairment + a pedal bin requires operating with the feet = a big mess round the bin, d'oh...)

This bin was wall mounted at a sympathetic height for a wheelchair user, right next to the sink, with a handle attached to the lid. I grant if you can't use your hands either this would have been as much use as a chocolate teapot, but then again, maybe you'd have a PA with you in that case. Anyhow. I gleefully chucked in my dental floss feeling the warm glow of satisfaction that someone somewhere in the hospitality industry had put two and two together. How thoughtful.

Unfortunately, the design of the toilet bowl was rather too thoughtful. Maybe you've seen a design like it if you've been to Germany - I first encountered one there when I was on the school German exchange. The toilet bowl is mainly a flat shelf, with just a small hole toward the front of the bowl into which everything gets flushed. The idea is that you 'do your business' and then get up to inspect whatever lands on the shelf. It's the kind of thing the repressed English don't do enough of, but more conscientious nations may do as a matter of course.

You might say it's logical to be concerned about bowel health, but the thing is, I don't need a special toilet pan to show me I've eaten rubbish. I know that already, because if rubbish goes in then even by the most rudimentary logic, that is what will come out.

But perhaps we in UK have had a rude enough introduction to this practice from a certain small-but-fierce Scottish lady, who makes silly money humiliating people by judging the content of their bottoms. Maybe it is for the greater good, but as much as I like the concept of being healthy inside and out I could not help but be flushed with shame when it came to my moment of truth.

I may be making too much of a fuss, but dear reader, I was not prepared. The fact is it's hard to eat healthily on the road. Poo charts be damned. I am traumatised. Thank goodness for the thoughtfully placed accessible height window, toward which I now wheel in haste to take in a few breaths of sweet, clean air...