On a recent 3-hour train ride, the 8 gallons of tea I drank that day came back to haunt me. As a general rule, I try not to use the bathroom on modes of public transportation. But I just couldn’t wait.
I stood in line for my turn in the bathroom, took one look inside the door, and then turned around and went directly back to my seat. The bathroom was a squatter, a squatty potty, a nasty hole in the floor where people pee and poop. Gross.
What’s the big deal? you may naively ask. Well, let me tell you a little bit about the ol’ squat toilet.
It’s gross. Basically, it’s a hole in the floor, where you would normally put a toilet. The idea is that you stand over the hole, squat way down, and try your best to pee, not pee on your clothes, and not fall over into other people’s pee, all at the same time. Why not just put a toilet in? Seems like the same amount of work for the contractors.
Anyways, up to this point, I had done a solid job of avoiding the squatter at all costs. Many a day, I had held my bodily functions for an extra hour or so until I could find a “real” toilet. I just didn’t have the skills required to use the squatty potty.
I mean, I know how to squat. I know how to pee. And I know how to not pee on my clothes. But combining all three? Baffling!
So there I was, on the train, 8 gallons of tea sloshing around in my bladder, threatening to force its way out with every jolt and rumble of the movement of the train. I was not going to make it another hour. I turned to my friends for help. What was I doing wrong? Why was I the only person who seemed incapable of using the bathroom in Taiwan? Obviously I was missing some key element of the process. Millions of people pee this way everyday.
After getting some tips from my friends (who of course thought it was ridiculous that I had lived in Taiwan for 2 months and still didn’t know how to use the bathroom like a big girl), I mustered up my courage and headed back into the depths of the train toilet. I rolled up my jeans (so they didn’t drop into the puddles of strangers’ urine) and did my business. I even managed to avoid getting splash-back from my own pee on my feet!
Feeling relieved in more ways than one, I gingerly headed back to my seat. I peed in the potty! Mommy and Daddy would be so proud!