Friday, June 09, 2006

Free to pee

Here in the United States of America we are granted the right to pee for free, or use a toilet without being charged. Could you imagine having to go to the bathroom so bad that you couldn't stand it but you couldn't find a quarter? Or better yet some odd amount like $0.45.

Years ago I traveled to Europe with my Granny and her dear friend, Elaine. Now this is quite a pair. We were going for a church retreat in Germany, but we went a few days early so Elaine and I could go to Austria as well. My Granny had been there before. She is a regular world traveler.

We signed up for a private tour of Salzburg, Austria. There were many, many beautiful sites to see. We saw a mountain where the movie The Sound of Music was filmed. But it was covered with snow so we were unable to jump around and break out in song.

On our tour we made a stop at a very unique building, I do not recall exactly what it was, but it was very pretty and closed. The guide said we just had to see it. We were getting ready to walk around and take pictures when Elaine announced she needed to tinkle. Well, the tour guide was no where to be found, so off we went to find the W.C. (water closet). They are not called bathrooms, or restrooms there. We found a whole bunch of them. They were locked! We could not figure it out! Then after paying a little more attention to the locks we found that they were not just locks. You had to insert change in them to get them to open.

We wanted a free pee. My gosh, charging to go to the bathroom? Are they crazy!?

Well, someone else must have been in worse shape than Elaine when they came across this little problem. Because after checking every lock we found one that had been busted. Elaine was estatic! You have to understand that she is a penny pincher deluxe. To the point that she was not going to pay to pee. She was so happy that she didn't have to pay that she talked about it all day!


Blogger Pioneer Woman said...

I'd be in REAL trouble! When I have to go, I have to go! (I think it's called "urgency". No European trips for Ladd and me.

6/10/2006 9:14 AM  
Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

Years ago I was in California and remember seeing pay-to-pee toilets.

6/11/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Ree - I know the feeling. I have been known to make Butch pull over on a dirt road so I can go. :)

malnurtured snay - Okay, where in CA? I have got to see this, and we are in CA quite frequently. Thanks for stopping by.

6/11/2006 9:53 PM  
Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

Julie --

This woulda been the summer before I started high school so ... August of 1993? As I recall we flew into San Francisco, drove down to LA, then returned to Maryland. So, somewhere between San Fran and LA. At a McDonalds, if memory serves. G'luck finding it! :)

6/12/2006 1:25 AM  
Blogger shana said...

Hmm, back in my home country, we had this pay-to-pee system for certain toliets. It was always the dirtiest ones too! However, I think they've stopped this now...

6/12/2006 4:09 AM  
Blogger Semavi Lady said...

I wasn't living in the 'states' at the time but I do recall one vacation in the sixties when my immediate family was visiting my dad's family in "Beantown", MA. One of my aunts worked for a Woolworths there and they did have pay toilets.

I needed to go and as my aunt brought me in there, another lady was leaving one stall from a galley of stalls and held the door open so I could get in for free. I remember my Aunt grinning and reminding me to say "thank you" before I went in.

As a preteen kid with a rather nomadic background in Pacific Asia, I thought it rather novel and strange to need to pay to use a toilet in my dad's country. I recall from our cross country trip that year (USA) that there were occasionally pay toilets at various high traffic areas, including at least one airport and a Greyhound bus station - although I no longer remember which states those were in.

6/12/2006 4:59 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

malnurtured - Aw, you are just a young whipper-snapper! :) Mickey D's charged for use of their restrooms? That is just insane! I don't think I will look for those. :) I just knew it was going to be a tourist trap!

Shana - you are so right...these were terribly dirty toilets. I would've gone outside rather than in there. And certainly would not want to pay for it. Thanks for stopping by!

Semavi Lady - Wow! I am shocked that there are (and were) so many "pay-to-pee" restrooms in the US. I haven't seen any, but will be keeping my eyes peeled! Thanks for reading!!

6/12/2006 8:33 AM  
Blogger Swampwitch said...

I'm just snooping around and came across this post. So wish I had seen it before I posted last night because I would have make it a link. If you want, go back to my comments today and add it there.
Great story.

10/01/2006 10:03 AM  

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