Hey Fellow-People-From-The-Land-Of-Ice-Snow-And-Poutine, here’s a tip for you – few people other than ourselves seem to know what the hell we’re on about when we use the word:
When I first arrived in Thailand, I was put off by the constant use of the word toilet.
“Where is the toilet?”
“Do you have to go to the toilet?”
Signs screaming TOILET with arrows pointing to a wet and stinky room.
Call me an elitist, or perhaps just a victim of a very sensory brain, but the use of that very word, as depicted above in addition to how many countless other ways, generally sends highly visual, sometimes multi-angled HD shots of the said ceramic hole, in all its manifestations I’ve encountered in Thailand, including uncontrollable bitchslaps of the wafts of sewage and piss one may encounter walking into a room where one is publicly held. I’m not traumatized, it’s more like, this is how my brain often works with any number of things. I can’t stop it (and I suppose I never tried).
This led me to realize two things:
1) A new appreciation of Canadian diction and use of the word washroom.
2) The fact that no one, other than other Canadians, whom I seem to rarely meet, knew what I was talking about when I asked for a washroom. ‘No one’ referring to anyone who speaks English (I learned how to ask for this in Thai fairly early on, which translates to water room. Much easier for me to live with, in an uncontrollable sensory assault sort of way).
I then realized, from my current understanding of our world at large, that on average, people know the loo as a bathroom or a toilet.
So Canadians, please remember this should you find yourself in another country asking for where one is. Should you use our fine diction, someone may just answer your request with an “I don’t know”, a blank stare, a shrug, a wtf arched eyebrow, or a “don’t have”, not because there isn’t one, but because you’re speaking Freak to them. For example, “A washroom? What do they want to wash? Their face? Their body? Their hands? Why do they need to wash themselves?” “A washing room? Laundry?”.
Recalling this tidbit may make your life a tad easier. And your bladder a little more happy. (Yes, instant imagery of a happy dancing bladder). I’ll leave you with that.