I just returned from a very quick weekend trip to Atlanta —lovely city in late Spring when the weather is temperate.
I did a lot of walking, over 15,000 steps yesterday. One of the little walks was in Piedmont Park, one of Atlanta’s historic parks, built shortly after the Civil War. The conservancy has done a magnificent job both with the previous restoration project and now the new addition.
The park has several toilets throughout it which apparently all close at 6:00PM —not good when one has a need! Upon seeing a police officer in the park, I asked if all of the toilets were locked. All but one —at the Grady entrance.
And what a toilet it is! (pictured top right)
It being the only one available, I had to wait in line. This was a trip! The toilet was touch-free and completely automated. A speaking voice talked you through your entire toilet experience. This toilet was hi-tech!
The toilet welcomed you as you walked inside. It told you how to close the door without touching anything. It told you that you were only allowed 10 minutes before the door would open and an alarm would sound. After each use, the toilet disappears into the wall for self cleaning while the voice reminds you to wash your hands. The sink dispenses a pre-determined amount of soap, followed by water, and then a quick blast of air for drying. Waving your hand near the door opens it automatically.
A woman, with her husband and niece (all of whom needed the facility and were just ahead of me in the line) was having a blast. She was interviewing people, as they exited the toilet, about their toilet-going experience —each as if it were an important breaking-news event from TNC, the Toilet News Channel. “Was your toilet experience a pleasant one? … How would you rate the service this toilet provided you? … Was the toilet polite? … Did everything come out OK?” Everything was going smoothly. She was entertaining the crowd, who were all having a great laugh while patiently waiting.
Then tragedy struck.
When it came her turn to enter, the door quickly closed behind the previous person and would not reopen. She tried every button and light on the outside of the toilet. The desperation of her plight became known to all. She began talking to the toilet. “I know you’re in there. I’ve heard you talking to everyone else while they were inside. You open up this door right this very minute!” she exclaimed while stomping her foot after trying every secret combination of button and light pushes imaginable. As she became more desperate, she walked up to the door, hands on hips, demanding the toilet answer her. One of the guys in line said, imitating the voice of the toilet said, “Step away from the door!” She carried on quite the conversation with the toilet, always looking up at the light, as if it could see her. (pictured above)
After about five minutes, we heard sounds coming from inside the toilet. She calmly turned and announced to the crowd that the voice inside must be cleaning the toilet, knowing that it was her and that she demanded a freshly cleaned toilet experience.
Indeed, the toilet was cleaning itself, was washing the floor and goodness knows what else. This toilet took personal hygiene to a whole new level. Before closing the door behind her, she told her husband that she might have pissed off the toilet, no pun intended, and that if she wasn’t inside when the door re-opened, to call the police. While she and her niece were inside, I told her husband that he had better not let that toilet door close before he bolted into that thing.
Indeed, the most unique toilet experience I’ve ever experienced! For real!!