Peregrination

Tower of Used Tissues

I spent a week enjoying the delights of Hangzhou’s West Lake tourist area a few years ago. Having done my homework prior to departing home, I brought lots of little packs of Kleenex to carry around to use when dealing with toilets not supplied with toilet tissue. Apparently, so did everybody else – well, so did every other woman. I didn’t check the men’s room, sorry.

Toilets were readily available in the tourist areas within spitting distance of the Lake, which was nice. Given that my hotel was nearby, it wasn’t a big issue. The few toilets that I did use weren’t great. Gang toilets with wet floors and smelly squatty potties – the kind that flush – but no toilet tissue or facial tissue or any tissue was provided – and any you provided could not be flushed.

In the corner of each stall, a little trash can was provided for you to deposit your used tissue (whatever tissue that you supplied). Of course, the can was full – full of neatly folded, neatly stacked – a veritable tower – of used facial tissues. What happens when how you fold or wad up your “toilet tissue” is readily visible to everybody? Conformity. Each tissue was folded in half, then in half again. Used to wipe off, then neatly added to the stack.

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