(La Toilette, Georges Croegaert, 1891, Private Collection, Art Renewal.com)
I've always had a serious fascination with bathroom plumbing.
And when I say "plumbing," I am referring to that oh-so-necessary item known as the commode.
To the uninformed, the word "commode" means "toilet" in polite society.
I adore the pristine crispness of a beautiful white commode.
It should go without saying that all decent commodes are white - not beige, not sage green, and certainly not mauve pink.
Ick to the max!
I'll pretend that disgusting image never entered my mind!
There is something about the power of a flush that makes me get all tingly inside
A solid push on the handle and - WHOOSH! - everything disappears like magic!
But where does "everything" go?
I don't want to get too technical but I sincerely believe that "everything" disappears into the - hmmmm - bowels of the earth.
Although I'd love to, I'll never forget the restroom in the lobby of our Edinburgh hotel.
I cautiously opened the door - this was a wise decision - and slowly moved inside.
My gaze landed on an overly used (I'm trying to be nice here) hand towel that had been draped haphazardly on the back of the commode.
Let me just say that's never a good sign.
My eyes moved to the commode.
The height of this thing - from top to bottom - had to be nearly 3 feet!
Had they built this thing to service Amazons?
For a split second, I seriously wondered if I was going to need a ladder to climb on board.
The toilet seat was truly a work of art.
Certainly Medieval craftsmen had fashioned this splintered wood device to torture unsuspecting users.
Not to be outdone, the loosey-goosey handle wobbled in my hand as I performed The Great Flush.
Well........you get the picture.
"Why DOES this toilet look so strange?" I asked myself.
My frazzled brain was sputtering quickly to solve the puzzle.
Ah - hah!!!
I had unknowingly discovered the earth's original commode!
And it was on permanent display right here in this very lobby.
Suddenly, the light bulb in my brain flickered on.
This had to be one of those educational interactive exhibits in which museum go-ers are encouraged to become personally involved with the object on view.
How in the world could I be this fortunate to see such a thing?
And how in the world could I hold the contents of my bladder another second?
Obviously, some questions are better left unanswered.
I refused to wash my hands at the filthy sink.
Nothing in that restroom could have been dirtier than that sorry little basin.
Besides, I knew we were just minutes away from entering a private bathroom in our upstairs accommodations.
Hopefully, conditions there would be sanitary.
I grabbed a used paper towel - there was not a fresh one in sight - and twisted the door knob.
The desk clerk smiled at me as I headed up the stairs.
Thrilled to be in the lobby again, I grinned back at her.
Opening the door to our room, I glanced down and noticed a dainty length of bathroom tissue trailing from my perky sandal......
a sweet souvenir of my visit to the world's original commode.