• Karl

Diary of a cartoonist---Open door policy

The Kalashnikov Kid came rushing back to me in a state of almost childlike excitement from her call-of-nature emergency pit stop in a French motorway service station. What had gotten her all fired up with wonder? A contactless toilet. Apparently she had discovered that money wasn't an issue and she could answer the call of nature on her card, and as such she'd just had her first contact less pee. Now like any new acolyte she insisted that others try the 'new way', and wanted me to be her first convert. Now I'm not sure how she usually has a pee, but for me a contactless one is not only inadvisable but most probably violates several health and safety laws. Well as it transpires I did need to go. So I set off with my trusty contactless card, saw the device, swiped it, got the excited little noise that meant all was well in contactless card heaven and...nothing: The turnstile refused to turn. I pushed it. Nothing. I cajoled it. Nothing. I spoke to it harshly in French, but still nothing. So I thought sod this I'm going in under the gate. Now nothing, it would appear, excites these natives quite as much as someone trying to get a free pee, and within seconds I was surrounded by shop assistants, two members of the gendarmes and Pepe le Pew, the janitor. There was a lot of local lingo being shouted, confused expressions all around, pushing and shoving, indignant repostes from me and then a sharp jolt, a swirling blackness, then nothing. After I had gotten over the effects of the taser strike, and had managed to explain what had happened through a mix of school boy French and pigeon English, Pepe reluctantly let me through the gate with the suspicious glance of someone who was going to be keeping a close eye in me in future. Now onto part two of my problem: I quickly became aware of the French people's love of open air facilities, and this fascination, it would appear, extended to an open door policy on toilets. Now when I go---and I don't want to sound too crude---but when I go I need there to be a distance between me and the urinal. Due to the fact that urinals are designed in such a damndable silly way that blow back is a very real issue, and if you stand too close you emerge from the loos looking like you've just made a mad dash through a set of low level garden sprinklers. So here's my predicament: Do I stand close to the urinal and conceal myself or take my usual Tarzan, lord of the jungle stance and risk an international incident? Yes. Easy one really isn't it? Especially if you take into account my almost legendary ability to get in a pickle where ever I go and my inability to read simple situations and do the right thing; so I naturally chose the Tarzan, Lord of the jungle option and waited for the screams. It took two seconds followed quickly by Pepe le pew, the two gendarmes and a freshly charged taser. I have just come around for a second time only to find myself being escorted out of the motorway service station and, judging by the Police motor cycles flanking our car, quite possibly France. I wonder what Brussels will bring?


All artwork and the written word are copyright Karl Dixon