~~ Ron Richter on the loose in Jerusalem~~
If you have never travelled internationally, let me tell you--there will come a time, when one least expects it, that nature will call. In Jerusalem at such a time as this, one immediately starts looking for the W.C. The term, W.C., of course is an abbreviation for what could be anything from Walter Carmichael to Whizzing Chambers, although it seems the most commonly accepted name is Water Closet.
All of the W.Cs. I have been familiar with here in Jerusalem have been impressive. By American standards, a public W.C. must first rank high in cleanliness and it must smell good, and the W.Cs. here certainly all seem to meet this standard. They must all have certain working facilities such as sinks and stalls and mirrors.
I once heard a story about the Academy Awards Oscar night a couple of years ago. When it was announced that Julia Roberts had won the Oscar, she was in the men’s restroom. She later explained that the line to the ladies’ room was so long, she had gone into the men’s room, which could more efficiently process the men due to the difference in plumbing.
I was reminded of this here when on two separate occasions a lady walked past me into the men’s stall. Upon leaving, each wrinkled her nose and muttered something in a foreign language which I assumed was not Hebrew since neither of the ladies had a beard or wore a little cap on their heads. I suspect that she was upset that someone had left the seat up in the stall.
Another practice that struck me as being somewhat unique here was the height of the urinals in the men's W.C. The interesting aspect is that the urinals seem to be mounted rather high on the walls, approximately the height of my navel. I am 5 ft 10 in height, not unusually tall and certainly not short. So the use of this piece of furniture was quite a stretch for me. Although I am an imported city boy into Idaho, I do have some mountain-man pride, as well as an American reputation to uphold. So I would stand on my toes, smile, and stretch for all I was worth. Dr. Mike would have been proud of me.
In conclusion, I must report that upon leaving Walter Carmichael’s, I would sometimes hear an astonished respectful gasp behind me obviously from the Jewish men who did have beards.
Photos might have enhanced this letter, but modesty prohibited me attaching any. And Ruth, having read through this, finds there’s not a thing she can add for further clarification except that she, too, is more impressed with her husband.