The Olympics in Sochi 2014, toilets and a different point of view. Radka Rubilina, 2014

26/05/2014 15:19

For me a symbol of the Olympics in Sochi, thanks to the social media, has become the shared restrooms and painted green grass. A picture showing several toilets in one room without anything that would be even slightly suggestive of a divider have been published by Indian media about a week before the Olympics opening. Since then the pictures showing the two- to four-shared-toilets situation rooms have spread massively over the internet, with the empty toilets and restrooms being gradually filled by recently arrived prettied-up members of various ski-luge-skating teams – the member each sitting on just one, own, toilet yet all of them sitting-sharing the room together; well, certain attributes that the national team should likely display, one could say…  

In a pub located in the Yerevan’s center, I elaborated about this toilet phenomenon to my friends, one girl and two men, after some time of significant sipping at Armenian wine. “In Sochi, they have built restrooms,” I said, “where all sit together, do you understand this?” I finished it with a good laugh and waited for a similar reaction. The response I got back was only incomprehension and silence.   

The girl turned her eyes down toward the table, being apparently taken aback by the topic. Such topic is nothing commonly discussed in her culture and definitely not in public. Also my long-time friend was looking at me totally puzzled; and then I finally realized that he has served twenty years in army. In the army barracks as well as in the terrain no such thing as separated (not in one room) toilets exist and so those shared morning toilet routines, with all the sounds and odors, just mean nothing else than common, daily standards to him.  

And the last man sitting with us is - according to his passport - a French man, but originally from Mongolian steppe. His look for me displayed the scorn: “I don’t understand why you are so excited about this. You, Europeans, always come up with something that you claim to be original while completely ignoring the rest of the world!” And, is not he right? Good two-thirds of the world can only dream about some restroom dividers, separated restrooms, or even the white porcelain toilets…      

Radka Rubilina, Yerevan, 2014