When in Venice and poor

Every year I take part in the grand opening of the Venice Carnival along with a big delegation of other masked people, all coming from the lovely and nice village where I grew up. This is a bizarre group made up of young and old people, all dressed with self-made costumes joining the parade of the most refined Venetian masks. Like in Asterix’s movies when he and the noisy inhabitants of his village enter the elegant and fine center of Rome.

And it is exactly in this cheerful context that the drama -punctually- happens: maybe it’s because I’ve been around since sunrise, maybe because it’s very cold, maybe the amount of alcohol in my body is frighteningly high, I feel a sort of electric shock pervading my lower belly like a thunderbolt out of the clear blue. Shit. Which is not only the cause of my discomfort but also the exclamation that tourists hear all over Piazza San Marco… The situation is tragic right from the start: in the middle of the busiest area of the city, among the crowd, I can see in the distance the public toilets that, besides their crazily high cost, (three, I say three euros) are horribly dirty as well as very busy.

A small digression: I must specify that there is a lapse of time between the moment the urge arrives and the moment you are in a total emergency. Most people control this interval without problems or even there’s someone that can decide autonomously when to dump “their blames”. Well, my time frame is extraordinarily short, a matter of a few minutes.

Looking for a free public toilet in Venice

Let’s go back to Venice, the situation forced me to find a creative solution, and also quickly. I hesitate and waste time, I don’t know how to move and I am stuck in the middle of the square, so the alcohol fumes take the decision for me, which brings me to the doorstep of the luxurious 5-star hotel just outside the square. Now, imagine a 20-year-old man dressed as a cheerleader, stuffed with alcohol and pale as a ghost meeting the concierge of a 5-star hotel in piazza San Marco in Venice. The balance of this encounter/clash hangs definitely to my disadvantage but I decide to catch him by surprise and I start like this: “Excuse me, but I desperately need a bath!

– And here is the Mexican Standoff –  

It may have only been a few moments before his reply, but to me, it seemed like centuries “he’s kicking me out, he’s kicking me out for sure” I think. Against all odds, the miracle happens instead. The concierge bursts out laughing and points me to a door, I swoop in and finally win, freeing myself of the horrible load.  I leave the hotel with my head down, avoiding the look of the concierge who is still laughing, I only greet him with a wave of my hand, but in my heart, I am very proud of my work. I can boast of the fact that in Venice the 5 stars open the doors to me, I leave the public latrines to those who have time to wait.