Home > Appreciated Quotes, Cultural Movement, Design the Details > Delayed Gratification and Public Toliets

Delayed Gratification and Public Toliets

Well Put

I know of no other place in the world where anyone leaving home or office is put to periodic torture because great pains have been taken to hide the location of rest rooms.”

~ Edward Hall, anthropologist, in  The Silent Language

…Or, great pains to not build them at all.

…Or, great pains to place them at wide distances from activity centers.

This passage was found while reading A Geography of Time by Robert Levine. The book explores the construct of time in different cultures. The American obsession for hiding toilets was used as a point of reference to describe the American tendency for an “unwillingness to deal with immediate needs.” In general, people in the U.S. require “greater urgency” before solving some of life’s daily problems.

Basically, we hold it as long as we can. 


In related news, another hurdle arises for public restrooms downtown TC.

  1. Amy Martin
    October 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I have a GREAT public toilet story. The public toilets by the GR Ford Museum in G-Rap are basically like “camping” toilets – no doors, no TP, etc. Anyway, during Art Prize, (on an extremely busy Saturday) those toilets became a place of bonding and laughter as (the braver) women who did not know each other prior shared TP they had stashed in their purses “just in case”, took turns watching over the stalls, and shared stories about camping, (because apparently it was only the camping, backpacking-loving women who dared use the toilets). One woman and I walked out together, (sharing a camping story, nonetheless) and right as we did so, a horse and carriage rode by with a newly married couple. We looked at each other and she exclaimed, “this is just perfect!”. And it was. I LOVE oddities like this — things outside of our sterilized, depersonalized, people-to-people cultural “norms”. Go public toilets! (Yes, I’m pretty sure I could be enthusiastic about anything)

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