Friday, June 18, 2010

Ask About Vegemite Instead

Upon returning from a vacation, everyone wants to know all about your trip.  It’s your time to tell them all about your adventures, and of course, make them a little jealous.  Or a lot jealous, if the destination allows for it.  Now, even though I wasn’t really on vacation per se here in Australia, it was no different for me when I went back to the States in May.  Everybody had a question and everybody wanted to know all about life down under.  Some questions I was expecting.  Others, I hadn’t even thought of.  Here are some sample questions you may receive upon returning from select destinations:

Hawaii:  “How were the beaches?”
Las Vegas:  “Did you win any money?”
Orlando:  “Did you see Mickey Mouse?”
Mexico:  “How were the margaritas?”
France:  “Did you go up the Eiffel Tower?”
Italy:  “How was the food?”
Australia:  “OMG - which way does the toilet flush?!?!”

Seriously, people?  “Which way does the toilet flush?”  That was the number one question I was asked when I went back to the States in May.  Sure, a few people asked if I had held a koala, or gone surfing, or eaten some kangaroo.  But, thanks to a little pop culture myth and an episode of The Simpsons, an overwhelming majority of people asked about toilets flushing.  Great.

Because toilets are what we usually discuss right when we get back from vacation, right?

I guess we Americans really are a classy bunch.  Well, just this once - and only this once - I’ll try my best to appease all of you ever-so-curious Americans.  So, which way do those Aussie toilets flush, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you this:  I don’t fucking know.

I don’t know!  I really don’t!  I mean, can you honestly tell me if your toilet at home swirls clockwise or counter-clockwise?  I have no idea because I don’t stand there and watch the nuggets swish down the drain.  That’s gross.  I stand up, pull up my pants, press the button, and immediately go wash my hands.  I don’t linger.  I don’t look.  I just drop the children off and leave.  Do you stare at it???


I will tell you this:  Most of the toilets here are designed to conserve water, so they have two flushers - one flusher for pee and another flusher for poo.  The pee flusher uses just a bit of water so you don’t waste gallons upon gallons of it on a little tinkle.  The poo flusher uses an amount more than the pee flusher but less than Niagara Falls.  I’m pretty sure a lot of the toilets just suck it straight down – no swirling – no swishing – just opening up and letting it drain out.  It’s sort of like an airplane lavatory toilet, except these here on land don’t have enough suction to pull your entire head off if for some reason you get within four feet of it.

Sorry to disappoint you all.

The next time you have a friend come back from the Land of Oz, don’t let the first question be about which way the toilets flush.  It’s a bit ridiculous.  Ask about kangaroos, or koalas, or beaches, or Vegemite, or the outback!

Let toilets be your fourth or fifth question.

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