Continuing our stroll south, we have a couple of places we wanted to go, either because they had been recommended or we’d collected tourist information magazines about them, making them look amazing. South West Rocks had been recommended to us as the most beautiful place in Australia by a friend, so we were keen to get over there. When we got there, it was like a tiny Newquay without the surf. A billion places selling chips and ice cream, Holiday Inn style motel/hotel things, a full caravan park next to the beach, fat pink tourists everywhere…the beach was perfectly pleasant, but…maybe we’d got the wrong part of it, I don’t know. The most exciting part of it was when I visited a public loo, which was a small white box with a rectangle that looked like a door but there were no handles. I peered at it suspiciously at it and walked round it restlessly. An old couple walked past looking amused. ‘What do you suppose I do?!’ I asked them desperately – I was desperate.
‘Oh, I think you press that button,’ the man said, pointing at a brushed steel panel with subtle raised circles on it. The door slid open slowly. ‘Blimey. It’s like something off Doctor Who,’ I said. They chuckled and carried on.
Once in the loo pod I had to work out how to close the door. I concentrated and located a DOOR CLOSE button. It didn’t work. I pressed it a few times, nope. Desperate, I pressed the DOOR OPEN button, and the door closed. Now, did the door close because it’s just a bit slow, and might open at any second because it got round to acknowledging the OPEN button? I waited, then couldn’t wait any longer and took my chances. It stayed closed. I had to find the FLUSH button and then had to hold my hands under the automatic soap, water and air dispensers, which refused to give me soap or air. I pressed the DOOR OPEN button again and ran out before it could make me jump over any more hurdles like completing a customer satisfaction questionnaire about it.
When you’re desperate for a pee and you’re in holiday mode, full and drowsy after a large portion of chips and ice cream, you don’t approach a loo with the mentality of someone about to undertake a maths test. And anyway, what is wrong with a door handle and a sliding lock? A mechanical flush, pressing the soap dispenser? A flush button and a broken soap machine is hardly more hygienic. I just thought it was mad. All that electricity and electronicickery for the same thing made much more annoying. Buy the kids a ping pong table instead.
Blossom's token tourist picture at South West Rocks