A few years ago in this city public toilets were a hard thing to find . When I first came here , twenty years ago or so , there was always a lady or two sitting by the door of toilets , whether they were in restaurants or hotels or wherever . On her little table were a few folded pieces of toilet paper and a little sign that let you know how much the fee to use the toilet was .
That fee was small , sure , but annoying . And when you happened not to have any small change it could be a small problem . I would suddenly have decisions to make : First , how much do I really need to pee ? ; then : should I just barge in without paying ? What , this old lady is going to chase me down the street for one and a half zloty ?
The toilet paper thing was always a curiosity. There would be a few stacks of , maybe , three squares of toilet paper on her table , each stack neatly folded . You’d get one if you needed one . Obviously that wasn’t enough to do much with if a need arose . The Poles tell jokes about that , but I’ll skip those jokes in this post . I try to run a clean blog .
There was one old ramshackle port-a-potty in a park , once-upon-a-time . It was truly disgusting . That was the only no fee “public restroom” that I knew about in the city center . Of course there were bushes , and trees, and walls , and back alleys too . But those , not designed for peeing , don’t really count .
I knew where all the free pee pee places were , though . When you’ve got to go , you’ve got to go . A friend of mine once , as we walked around San Francisco and I stopped at most of the public toilets , said I could write a tour book : The Restrooms of San Francisco . Oh , yeah , I could . And of Szczecin , too .
Once , Ada and I were in a small shop in Szczecin when two tourists walked in . In English the woman asked where the nearest restroom was located . Her husband , standing next to her , needed to pee . He was desperate , she said . I’m not sure where the couple were from . She said they had arrived on a cruise boat . She had a city map in her hand and they had been walking around the city .
The shop clerk didn’t speak English . Ada answered the woman’s plea : ” You’ll have to ask my husband . He knows where all the restrooms are . ” And I did . Necessity breeds ……………………..What does necessity breed ? Oh , I guess it’s ” Necessity is the mother of invention .” Need I explain ? Well , you see , I do a lot of walking in the city and a certain amount of beer drinking ……………………………..Anyway , on that occasion, the nearest toilet was just across the street at the Dublin Pub . I showed the desperate-to-pee guy where the pub was , told his wife to just walk down the steps at the Dublin ; the toilet’s just on the left ; just go in and don’t bother to ask anyone . They hurried over . I could empathize .
I’m happy to see now throughout the city , though , nice clean Toi Toi portable toilets all over town . Very convenient . Someone in city administration finally read my mind . Maybe the rising stink of urine in the alleys and bushes and walls had something to do with it , too . I don’t know . Nowadays , walking around town and you gotta pee ? No problem ! There will be , at least , a nearby Toi Toi .
Ah , isn’t it often the small things that make life tremendously more enjoyable ?