Bathrooms or The Lack Thereof
One of the things I miss most about living in the U.S. is the abundance of free bathrooms. I can go to a Denny’s, McDonalds, Starbucks, Tullys, Barnes and Noble, Jamba Juice, public park, Pottery Barn, almost any big store and use the facilities for free, without pressure to buy something and without guilt.
Free bathrooms are a rare thing in Italy; being pregnant I am noticing the problem more and more. In Torino, there are a few places to use the restroom for free: McDonalds on Via Po, IKEA and the Mall come to mind. It is true that the majority of the shops in Italy are family run and they don’t want the public coming in and soiling their facilities. Most of the time you can also use the bathroom at a bar but you usually have to buy something first and the last thing I need is more liquid so the DH usually buys himself a coffee and I use the restroom. In a long afternoon of strolling he might have to buy and drink 3-4 coffees though.
Maybe this is why Italians have no qualms about urinating when they feel the need. I’ve seen this first hand more times that I want to count. The worst offender was a man who began urinating behind his car in downtown Torino just before he got in it and drove off. What a disgrace. The parks in Torino are littered with bits of used toilet paper and men and boys alike huddling in corner to relieve themselves. The biggest park near my home has a door less, drain less, paperless, hole in the ground as a toilet.
Recently after the renovation at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome, I noticed a free WC (water closet). Ingenious since there usually thousands of people gathered at the Steps and any given time. Usually you have to pay to use WC’s, at train stations and at many tourist points. Really, I don’t mind paying 50 cents at all, if the WC is staffed and clean. Across the street at Westminster Abbey there is a spotless WC, and there are many dotted all over Venice too. To avoid the mad rush of finding a restroom while out and about, I am now withholding liquid before I leave the house and just rehydrating myself when I get home, not a good habit but I haven’t suffered any ill effects yet. With all of that said, I have no idea what the third trimester has in store. Wish me luck.
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