I’m on the new express train running from Kharkiv to Kiev in a record four and a half hours. These express trains are nice, which is to say, they’re almost akin to the second class compartments on Western European trains.
Before leaving Kharkiv I committed the error of opening a liter and a half container of orange juice with the intention of drinking just a glass. Shortly after committing this error I learned that since I opened it the orange juice only had 24 hours to live. Terribly tragic, I thought, to waste so much orange juice, so I have brought it onto the train with me, where it sits now, 3 hours into the trip, in it’s own little seat nearly consumed in it’s entirety. This is important information because it sets into motion all that I am about to tell you, and provides me the means I need to do so. All because, like most living things, I now need to go to the bathroom and, needing to go to the bathroom, I have been keeping my eye on the illuminated WC sign at the front of the carriage which informs me that, at this time, the bathroom is occupied. Not only that but my own vision informs me that there is a lady outside of the bathroom waiting to go in.
The question now becomes, who is in there and how long will they take?
15 minutes later I’m still wondering this, and now I’m wondering this uncomfortably. The container of orange juice next to me is no longer a container of orange juice but merely a container, devoid now of any future beyond that of the waste bin (before you get all upset at me, realize that recycle bins don’t exist in Ukraine).
The woman waiting in front of the bathroom is also getting increasingly frustrated. Everyone has their very own pee pee dance and hers is remarkable in its clarity. She’s pacing the tiny space between the carriages, alternating knocking on the door and fiddling with her phone.
Another 15 minutes and I’m wondering whether anybody actually is in there. The lady in white is still doing the pee pee dance, but has now taken it through the other door into the next carriage in search of another, this time vacant WC. I don’t know how much longer I can hold out myself, it’s been over 30 minutes now and still no one or nothing has emerged from behind the door of the occupied WC.
What lies behind?
Several minutes later I’m just about to give up when the door opens and out spills the gigantic figure of a man, or perhaps an enormous ball of butter wearing an enormous man’s clothes. Judging by his appearance, the man appears to be Polynesian or Southeast Asian-something, a collection of assorted food you’d find at an Asian buffet. However, he more likely is just the victim of a really bad Ukrainian tanning salon.
One question lingers in my mind as the sweaty man with the triple chin and the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s paunch burls down the row of seats louder and more destructive than an Indonesian tsunami, and it’s not how does that bathroom smell now. I’m pretty certain of that answer.
If that’s the size of the man now, what did he look like 45 minutes ago, before he went into that bathroom and presumably spilled his guts?
He plops like an asteroid into his seat and minutes later I hear Kylie Minogue’s sugary voice emanating from his headphones. She can’t get him out of her head but what I can’t get out of my head is the blissful thought of peeing in whatever crude medieval instrument that’s subbing for a toilet behind the doors of that no longer vacant WC.
I give it another few minutes and after seeing a normal looking fellow come out from the WC without a grimace on his face I make my move.
I step inside the little air conditioned compartment and shut the door, imagining the little WC light illuminating once again in the carriage. Almost immediately I hear the sound of my iPhone, unlocked and thus unusable as a standard phone, notifying me that I have new notifications… On Facebook! All of which means… This WC has Internet!! Why here and not in the actual carriage? Who knows! But all I know is that I have misjudged this WC which just might be the finest WC I have ever known to exist on any form of public transportation!
As a result of this peculiar WC, you are now reading me now. Though rest assured, I have not been sitting on the toilet this whole time writing this. No, not at all. I have merely returned to the WC after writing these thoughts down in order to post them to the world.
Just in order for you to know that Ukrainian express trains have wi-fi in their WC’s- and rotund men that listen to Kylie Minogue on their headphones.