Museum Musings: When you need to go …

Sign in a South African toilet stall

I sometimes wonder whether I should just be a robot giving out directions, so all the tourists would have to do is press #1 for bathroom, #2 for paintings, #3 for photographs, #4 for the garden, and so on because the questions never change no matter the time of day or month of the year.

What am I asked the most? Directions to the facilities (even when my Satellite store is right next to it).

If you need to go, and you're at a gas station in South Africa, close your eyes, don't touch anything, and get out as fast as you can.

Question: Is there a restroom in this building?
Me: It’s downstairs.
Question: Downstairs in this building?
Me: Downstairs, in this building.

→ Toilet in three languages in Cape Town

If you need to go, what euphemism do you use? I wrote down exactly what folks asked me last weekend:

  • Do you know where the nearest bathroom is?
  • Excuse me, is there a restroom?
  • Where’s the ladies room?
  • Excuse-a-me, where is the lest loom?
  • Sorry, is there a rest room on this level?
  • The ladies room…..?
  • Which direction to the washroom?
  • Say me, where are the restrooms?
  • Excuse me, where’s the closest bathroom?
  • Can you tell me where the ladies room is ….?
  • Where the toilet?!!
  • Is the restroom downstairs?
  • Where’s the little girls’ room?
  • Excuse me, my son needs to use the potty. Do you have a restroom?
  • Excuse me, is there a restroom on this floor?
  • Where’s the nearest ladies room?
  • Excuse me, where are the bathrooms?
  • Hi there, may I ask where’s the closest restroom?
  • Hello, could you tell me where the restrooms are?
  • Excuse me, where the -ah- closest ladies room?
  • Excuse me, where are the nearest washrooms please?
  • Hi, lest loom?
  • Do you know where’s the rest-a-room?

Sign in a South African bathroom

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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12 Responses to Museum Musings: When you need to go …

  1. Priya says:

    Do you still say “Downstairs in this building” with a smile to the 1000th asker? I have a renewed respect for you, Rosie.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks Priya. I can never understand when I say “downstairs” why they’d then ask “in this building?” …. The only way I can reply with a smile is when I tell myself that these poor folks are jet lagged and know not what they’re saying. If I kept a log of how many “downstairs in this building” comments I get in a day I wouldn’t be able to reply with a smile.

  2. magsx2 says:

    I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have more or less the same question asked over and over, I certainly feel it would take a lot of patience.
    I totally agree with you about the toilet, it does look like a toilet that you need to get out of as fast as you can.

    • dearrosie says:

      How do I cope with being asked the same questions over and over? It helps to write it down and blog about it and laugh with you all. Until I worked in this job I had no idea how many “jet lagged” people were walking in our midst.

      I’ve actually been in worse toilets, which were so disgusting I couldn’t stay one second longer to photograph them.

  3. souldipper says:

    I can see a new T-Shirt being created: Losie, the Lest Loom Lefellee. 🙂

  4. Cindy says:

    Lest loom … bwahahahaha!
    Yes, SA public toilets are a disgrace 😦

    • dearrosie says:

      Cindy we were driving in the Eastern Transvaal and stopped in Belfast, the small town before Dullstroom. I could either use that toilet in the garage or wet my pants. I sensibly chose the former because as I reasoned, the Les Loom looked clean and didn’t stink,

  5. Barbara says:

    You must be the matron saint of patience, Rosie – I assume your replies are warm and friendly! 🙂 Maybe the museum needs to post a few more signs to help you out, or bigger signs with flashing lights!

    • dearrosie says:

      I hope my replies are warm and friendly Barbara 🙂

      I don’t think putting up more signs will help. One of the satellite stores is opposite an emergency exit, which is clearly signposted as an “Emergency Exit. Alarm will sound if opened” yet people open it every day.

  6. Kathy says:

    This is great, Rosie! I LOVE it! Did I ever tell you about how we were looking for a bathroom in the Rome airport and inquired “Where is a rest room?” and the kind man said in broken English, “I am so sorry. We don’t have any of those here.” Luckily, we didn’t believe him! 🙂

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