Signs of the times

I liked this notice, seen on a platform of the (excellent) Sydney rail system this evening:

No smoking

Actually, as one travels around the world, one often comes across interesting signs. I think one day I’ll publish a coffee-table book…

This padlocked box was on a street in a New Zealand town. Is the sign intended to fool very dim criminals, do you think?

Empty box

And this one, inside the door of a loo cubicle, also set me wondering. I must confess, I’d never had the urge to do this before:

Don't stand on the loo seat

Once you’ve seen it, though, you start to wonder. What have I missed out on all these years? What is the attraction? Demonstrating your sure-footedness? Spying on your neighbour in the next cubicle? Pretending you’re in a French toilet instead of a Kiwi one?

Whatever the appeal, it’s obviously sufficiently tempting that they had to make and put up a special sign…

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Whilst working in Jordan I came across the standing on the toilet seat ‘problem.’ In many Eastern cultures the lavatory is a glorified hole in the ground on which the person squats. When they attempt to use a western lavatory they squat on the seat of the toilet, often leaving dirty footprints for the next user to clean off with copious amounts of toilet paper. Soon all the paper runs out three times quicker than it used to.

Hence the need for the sign.

Another friend was told that in some branches of Islam it is considered an offence to be facing the wrong way with respect to Mecca when pooping. Not only can this problem entail taking a compass to the bathroom, but if the loo happens to be inappropriately oriented, drastic measure sometimes have to be taken.

Can anyone confirm this? Still… I would have thought that sitting the wrong way around would have been easier than standing.

I suspect the real reason is that some people just prefer to avoid all physical contact with the seat…

Do I sense a slight cultural bias here?

As a matter of fact, I wish we had squatting loos (aka Turkish loos’) as a standard. I find the idea of placing my bare intimate parts on a surface of questionable history a bit uncomfortable. squatting is so much more hygienic.

Of course, when you try to squat on a pooping device which was not designed for the practice, it can get a tad messy.

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