Unlike my father, who likes to enter the bathroom with a newspaper and stay there till he’s memorized every article, I prefer not to linger on the commode. A doctor once told me that doing so was a recipe for “anal fissures.” I’ve never had an anal fissure, but after googling the images, I can assure you I’m in no hurry to get one. Last week though, after lunching at a fancy hotel in Santa Monica called The Huntley, I found myself tempting fate in their extraordinary restroom. There, I remained perched on the porcelain a full ten minutes after completing the task at hand. Why? The view.
Forget grey stalls covered with phone numbers and dirty limericks, or the depressing and grungy subway tile that dominates so many public water closets. At The Huntley, the view from the toilet is no different than the view from The Honeymoon Suite. It’s simply too good to ignore, and leaves the unsuspecting patron awash in dissonance both cognitive and captivating. So, even though my immediate need could have been addressed from a standing position, I decided to take a seat, enjoy the view, and wait to see if perchance my lower GI tract might take the hint.
It was a thoroughly delightful wait. A cool breeze washed over me and ruffled the palm trees far below, as the sounds of a distant volleyball game wafted up from the beach. I didn’t think about anal fissures. I didn’t dwell on Elvis Presley, Evelyn Waugh, Catherine the Great, Lenny Bruce, and all the other famous folk who died on the bowl. Nor did I didn’t ponder the irony of The Dirty Jobs Guy suffering a similar fate – at least, not much.
Instead, I gazed out upon the vast and limitless Pacific Ocean. I watched the sail boats come and go, along with container ships bound for parts unknown. I communed briefly with a seagull that landed on the windowsill, and regarded me with a mixture of curiosity and uneasiness. I waved to couple who peddled past on a bicycle built for two, and they waved back, none the wiser.
Point is, there are many places to poop in California, but the crapper at The Huntley is unexampled, and the only toilet I’ve experienced that truly deserves to be called a “throne.” You probably won’t read about this in their hotel brochure, or see it written up on Yelp. So take it from me – if you find yourself in Santa Monica when nature calls, answer her on the top floor of The Huntley. You’ll be glad you did.
PS I can’t speak for the view from The Ladies Room. Perhaps someone else can investigate and provide a brief report.
PS There’s a new episode of The Way I Heard It over at mikerowe.com/podcast. It has nothing to do with poo, but is fascinating nevertheless.