Saturday, September 25, 2010

Privacy in London Town

I am told that London is one of the least private places around.  Reportedly there are close circuit TV cameras everywhere (over 10,000) watching and recording Londoners' every move.  I also noticed that some London workers seem to tolerate a complete lack of privacy in the workplace, toiling in open rooms with many other people.  Here is an example of one office I visited:

However, the public bathrooms in London are shrines to privacy.  They are like vaults with multiple doors.  First, you have a door to get to the area where the women's and men's bathrooms are.  Then you have the door to the bathroom appropriate to your gender.  Then you have a full length solid door to a fully enclosed room housing the toilet.  No footsie under the doors of these loos.  Even in the hotel room, housekeeping there, unlike my experience in American hotels, insisted on keeping the door to the bathroom closed every time they ventured into the room.  I would leave the hotel room with the bathroom door open, go out for a while and come back to a turned down bed and a closed bathroom door.  As far as I could tell they did not do anything in the bathroom when they turned down the beds other than make sure that the door is closed.

I also found it amusing that there were signs on the interior of the doors to some of the toilets admonishing us to corral our inner pig and clean up after ourselves.  Really?  Is this really necessary?
Here are some of those signs:

So it is okay to spend most of your day having no privacy so long as you can retire to a very private and clean bathroom.  Yes, I get it.

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