Toilets rarely surprise me.
That was till I went to a new restaurant the other day. During a quick stopover, I was momentarily taken aback. The bowl on the toilet was huge. It reminded me of a surprised Wallace, with me a bemused Gromit.
So who designs toilets? Evolution stipulates that distinguishing characteristics change over time, but correct me if I’m wrong, it’s not talking about a couple of years, more like a couple of billion years. The business end of the human body as I understand it, has not changed for a very long time, certainly not in the time I’ve been alive. I accept there are different size people, but really, shouldn’t a toilet be the classic “one size fits all”?
Which brings me to one of my pet hates. Toilet signs. I don’t get why trendy bars, clubs and restaurants, seem to love displaying baffling restroom signage. Indeterminate characters or vague references to animals (Buck/Doe, Jack/Jennet, Cob/Pen) it’s too confusing. Stylized characters that only a graphic artist could possible decipher do not facilitate the purpose of an in-house loo. Get the people in, out, and back to the bar. You don’t want patrons wandering around wondering whether the pumpkin or the cumquat indicates the male facilities.
Male / Female is acceptable, as is a two legged figure for male, one leg, or a dress for female, although I fail to grasp why the women only get to have one leg.
I can also deal with the size of toilets (the room, not the bowl) in Hong Kong. Space necessitates they are designed with 4-foot tall stick people in mind, but I am ok with that, as with aeroplane loos, it is what it is. It’s the unnecessary shapes and misleading signs that confuse and annoy me.
It’s the same confusion when ordering a coffee: Short, tall, grande, venti, alto. wee, wow, woah. Why is medium called tall and why is large, well is it vendi or alto? Or is tall small and short long, Grande sounds big, but why is it smaller than alto? That’s a musical term; maybe soprano should be the biggest, or should it be bass?
I was in a cafe the other day and I ordered a pizza. I’m a pretty average size guy so I figure I’d get the medium size. 15 minutes later, a trendy rectangular pizza turns up. But here’s the thing; it was two feet long. I mentioned to the waitress there had been a mistake, I wanted the medium – she informed me that was the medium. I can only imagine what the large looked like.
This obsession with confusion in the world has to stop. I want to be able to walk into a shop, use the toilet, order a medium coffee and regular pizza and not walk out of the ladies to a thimble size beverage in a cup that burns my hand, with a pizza for 6 waiting for me.
Am I asking too much?