Paying for the Public Potty

male and female signage on wall
Photo by Tim Mossholder on

Being a veteran (mostly business) traveler, I rarely get flustered even when traveling abroad. But, of course, there was one incident that caused some pretty anxious minutes and required relying on the help of total strangers.

Let me back up a moment. I was in London for a trade show (there, they call it a fair, or is it a faire?) and was lucky enough to have a free day to squeeze in some sightseeing with a coworker (we will call him Formerly Famous DJ Dude) who lives in the UK serving as tour guide. We were quite enjoying ourselves going strong throughout most of the day and things were going just swimmingly. (Oh, okay, except for the fact that my go-to travel cross-body organizer bag had a magnetic closure that kept fucking demagnetizing my tube pass thus requiring my coworker to rescue me at every entrance and exit.😬 He’s such a trooper!)

By the time we reached Waterloo Station, I clearly felt the urgent need to “go”. I found the sign for the “ladies” and went down the stairs. There was a turnstile – wait – what? I had to insert a coin into the device in order to get to the public restroom! Having nothing but paper currency I ran up the stairs and got a coin from my coworker – he was already smiling deviously at this point.

Back down the stairs – wait – what (again!) – the coin doesn’t fit. Apparently, you need exact change for your – ah – change. Pretty sure I could not make it up the stairs again and afraid of peeing my pants in front of a large number of people in a crowded subway station I must have looked frightful for someone took pity on me and pointed out a change machine. Now, with a handful of smaller coins, I got back in the queue for the turnstile only to realize that I had no idea which ones I needed to use. I backed up and let several Londoners with rolling eyes pass by. All I could do was stand there like a stupid American with my outheld palm full of coins. Finally, another kind stranger picked the necessary coins from my hand and inserted them into the slot. What a relief (pun intended!).

Here is the look on the FFDJ Dude upon my return from the Public Pay Potty debacle:


Did I mention he had a wicked sense of humor???

14 thoughts on “Paying for the Public Potty

  1. I live in the UK and have never the charge for ‘spending a penny’ the term used as it was a penny for a pee.some places charge about 20p! Backwards Britain for you. Funny post

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I had to add one more post to this: In every country we visited if we had to ‘Go’ we had to pay. It didn’t take long for us to get into the habit of patting our pockets to see how much change we had. It’s amazing how fast a person can get use to things.

    Liked by 1 person

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