Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Musical toilets

This evening I met a friend for drinks at the Westin in Bellevue.  He's down for the day to talk technology with some people nearby, so as I've just travelled several thousand miles, it seemed to make sense to catch up.  However, as I'd been out for the evening already, I was in need of a swift visit to the euphemism to unload my sorrows.

The toilets at the Westin are hidden away down a long corridor. Most toilets in Bellevue are hidden behind something. I'm not saying that this is an awful thing; I don't believe every restaurant needs an installation in the middle of the dining area that would do Duchamps proud. I'd just rather they didn't try to conceal the entrance to the toilets behind several tons of polished brass or wrought iron or cold hard steel.

Anyway, as I stepped into the room, music began to play. Not as some metaphor for the way my heart was beginning to leap joyfully in my chest. No, smooth dinner jazz, which started so perfectly in time with my entrance into the room that it must have been triggered by a motion detector. Which means in turn that the Westin thinks that in the toilets it makes a lot of sense to play smooth dinner jazz, because that's the sort of music that most people prefer to defecate by, but they're also concerned about their carbon footprint and don't want to play smooth dinner jazz to an empty bathroom.

That makes sense, if you both require a soundtrack for the toilet and you're worried about burning electricity too carelessly. I wasn't sure if I was in the intersection of these two groups of people or not, but hiding in the disabled toilet as I was, I felt it was best to get my business over with as fast as possible, and then get out before the toilet began to play Kenny G or Jamiroquai at me.

It's not that it's inappropriate for a toilet to play music while you're going about your business, it's just that it is inappropriate for a toilet to be doing that if it's not a Japanese toilet. That's fair enough, right?


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