Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Brief Digression Inspired by the Light Bulb

 id=It is simple in design - although I've never been able to figure out how it works - and has been around forever. Or at least for about two hundred years which, since my projected life span is less than half of that, is forever. At least 22 different individuals - who were probably able to figure out how it works - have laid claim to its invention prior to Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison, but unfortunately, nobody really gives a rat's ass about them. I am, of course, talking about the light bulb.

But in Spain, the incandescent bulb - which consumes 3% of the energy produced here - will soon be having its filament broken forever: in 3 years time it will be no more. By replacing the incandescent bulb with a low consumption colleague, it's estimated that 6.5 tons of CO2 will be saved each year. So huzzah!

Naturally, when I read that it was lights out for the incandescent bulb, it got me thinking about toilets. How so? you ask.

First let me say that I am rather partial to the motion detector bulbs that for the past several years many Spaniards have screwed into their sockets. They are cost and energy efficient, and have kindly provided me with a remember when story that never fails to make Señor Gato Gringo cringe. And making your husband cringe is what marriage is all about. I'm pretty sure that my mother told me this on my wedding night.

Our first visit to Spain, many years ago, saw a greatly vexed Señor G.G. experiencing his first motion detector light bulb in a roach infested bathroom in Algeciras. A roach infested bathroom, I might add, which was equipped with a Turkish style toilet (which sounds fairly exotic) or a simple squat (which does not). This is a visual you probably don't want to dwell on, but imagine squatting over a hole in a presumably soiled and sticky floor, clutching with one hand at your trousers, when the light - sensing no movement - goes out. Much hilarity ensures as you desperately try to flail your arms about to re-trigger the motion sensor, all the while trying to keep your pants from falling on a presumably soiled  id=and sticky floor and maintaining your balance. I keep telling Señor G.G. he should practise yoga.

Needless to say, his evacuation was not a happy experience although, with practice, Señor G.G. almost/sort-of came to like the squattie. After all, if - and depending where you're travelling this can be an awfully big 'if' - the floor area is clean enough, you can spread the newspaper out and take a shufti at the sports section while answering the call of nature. Oddly enough, this is seldom never given as an argument in favour of adopting the squattie as your loo of choice. But if you're one of the millions of people who have problems relaxing your puborectalis muscle - and modesty prevents me from broaching this subject with Señor G.G - I invite you to click here. If you require a wheelchair to beetle about, never mind.

To recap for those who require a flow chart:

Incandescent bulbs
low consumption bulbs motion detector bulbs → Algeciras squat toilets → fun for the whole family.

Logical, no?


Bluestreak said...

I´m yet to see one of those lovely "toilets" here in Spain. I hope I never encounter one. I´m still dealing with regular toilets here and how sick they are. The one you describe seems like just peeing in a hole in the ground and I just hope I´m not wearing flip flops when I find one of those things.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting.
Are they still using the motion detector bulbs?
You should have provided an actual demonstration of Senor G.G. doing the "Evacuation Dance"

Anonymous said...

I think an investment in an l.e.d. cap-light would be worthy for just such occasions. Having a stomach virus (oh-so-common in Morocco) was a memorable experience using those toilets.

La Gatita Gringa said...

aaaahh, diarrhea and a squatty. Wonderful memories!