Toilet Door Confusion

I like standards. Standards make life easier. Like the ISO 8601 time and date standard, that removes all the confusion wrought by Americans in their reporting of dates. And also in their driving of spaceships, but that’s another rant.

But the standards pertaining to the marking of toilet doors has me confused. In my job we have toilets with that little red/white colour window that shows when the toilet is occupied. Red means it’s locked, white means it’s free. (I tried to find a photo but failed. I might take a photo tomorrow. Instead, behold the mighty Defendius Labyrinth. Sweet.)

But when you are on the inside of the door, the rules break down. The marker on that side seems to show white when the door is locked. Causing me to panic and imagine that I forget to lock it and have to test the handle repeatedly, like some kind of crazed toilet paranoid. Why is this? Does the white on the business side of the toilet door signify “it’s cool, everything’s cool” or does it signify “vacant”? And does it vary from door to door? Or from country to country?

And why do they pack the disposable hand towels so tightly into the fucking holder that you can never pull out less than seven at once? And why does the “air-freshener” have a picture of a guy in a shirt on a beach wearing sunglasses? And why does the “half” flush seem to do just as good a job as the “full” flush?

I think I need a hobby.

/ paddy

16 thoughts on “Toilet Door Confusion

  1. You think you have a problem? Have you ever even considered griping about all the guys leaving the inside door handle wet after using the loo? Did you ever wonder what they used their hands for before wetting the door handle…


  2. Public restrooms freak me out completely. I mean, seriously. Wet door handles???!! Seriously? That would send me over the edge! I don’t really care about somebody accidentally opening the door, so much as just the filth, germs, nastiness……I need to go take a shower. Thanks so much Paddy. My day is wrecked!

  3. Toilets are cesspools of engineering failure, and they are dens of deviant elimination behavior and a stage for venues’ callous disregard of patron’s comfort and bodily requirements. I have a nightmare that I get into a stall with those fancy electronic locks and a door that goes from floor to ceiling (because they are dens of thievery as well) and the power goes out and I’m trapped in a toilet for the rest of my life.

  4. Ahh, Airbus… the French get to design the cockpit, flying controls and engine installations (think Citroen), the Brits do the wings, the Spanish do the tailplane and the Germans do all the passenger stuff, including the loos. Vorsprung etc., whatever it means. The effluent system is not centralised, so to balance the use of the loos and not overload any one part of the system, some bright spark decided that the loo should lock the door shut if it works out it is getting full, to turn away the ‘customers’ and send them on a wild goose chase around the aeroplane looking for a loo that would welcome their contribution to its fullness. So the story goes that the president of an asian airline took his wife to the acceptance and delivery of a new A340, and Mrs President needed to use the facilities, and the software wasn’t as foolproof as it should have been, and Mrs P was locked in for the duration of the flight. Could be apocryphal, could be a malicious rumour originating in Seattle, or Toulouse.
    BTW, aeroplane toilets are tested using dogfood, for its representative consistency and adhesiveness.

  5. There’s a public toilet on the main street of Bray in front of the municipal buildings. It warns you of a specific time frame in which you must do your business before the door automatically opens. Can you imagine? I mean if you’re constipated and you’re just not finished in time and the door slides open and there’s the town walking by? Not an unlikely event, you know. A dear friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, was taking a hit and miss on a French train and for some reason assumed the door was locked. It was one of those silent sliding doors. (Yes you see where this is going.) He pissed away at his leisure, shook it off, zipped up and turned around to find the entire train trying not to look at him. Oh god, I piss myself laughing every time I think of this (pardon the pun).

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