#3. New York's Public Bathrooms That Automatically Open After 15 Minutes, Whether You're Done or Not
"Now I need to poop. Everyone clear out."
Look, public bathrooms are horrifying. To even get to the seat, you have to wade through a lake of mystery liquid that, by the laws of logistical probability, very likely isn't water. And when you arrive, you find that the last person to use it had worse aim than a villain's henchman in a James Bond movie. If only we had the technology to build a public bathroom that cleaned itself after the last terrible human being defiled it. Well, now we do -- a number of high-tech self-cleaning toilets have opened in New York, complete with a prestigious toilet-paper-cutting ceremony. We wish that was a joke we made there, but it really happened. And these things serve only to prove the old adage that you should be careful what you wish for.
First of all, you have to pay a quarter to use them, which is an inconvenience, but understandable. But the truly horrifying part is that you only get 15 minutes to do your business. Tough luck if you're struggling with that last burrito. An alarm goes off when there are only three minutes left, warning you that, by God, those doors are opening whether you're done or not. If you do manage to finish, you get a generous three strips of toilet paper to clean yourself up.
You don't want to know how many times they've had to replace that poster.
After you leave, the bathroom turns into a self-cleaning robot befitting Skynet. Once the doors close, an arm comes down, cleans the toilet seat and blows it dry while high-powered jets spray seven gallons of water across the floor.
The bathroom floor has both a maximum and minimum weight sensor, both so the timer doesn't start until you are inside and so the cleaning process doesn't start and scald you to death with boiling water before you exit. There's something a little disquieting about the fact that you're only one malfunction away from scalding water in the face at any given moment.
"I knew I should've held it."
This comes after Seattle removed five similar toilets that it spent $5 million on after they became filthy and full of drug abusers and prostitutes. As it turns out, people still found a way to leave a mess in self-cleaning toilets, and the city finally decided to remove them when it learned that even the homeless people who went in there to smoke crack refused to use them due to how filthy they were. This is why we can't have nice things, Seattle.
#2. London's Pop-Up Urinals
Imagine this accompanied by "Ride of the Valkyries."
For a while, the British have been trying to brainstorm ways of combating the age-old problem of bar districts -- drunk dudes shambling outside and pissing all over the damn place. The only effective solution is more toilets, but lining the streets with urinals doesn't make the city particularly attractive during the day.
The solution they've come up with? Pop-up toilets! The city of London installed "telescopic urinals" that remain invisible under the ground during the day, but slide out after the sun goes down to allow London's night life no excuse for peeing in a gutter. Wait, London again? Do they actually intend to lead the world in the industry of bizarre toilets?
More like Doctor Loo, right, Internet?
Of course, if you're strolling around London at dusk, you might want to keep a close eye on where you're walking, just in case one of those things that you thought was a manhole cover suddenly destroys your shins as it slowly emerges from the middle of the sidewalk.
But that's not the most worrying thing about it. What they don't mention is whether they take care to check these things for sleeping drunks before they put them back in the morning. The only thing worse than waking up with a horrible hangover is waking up with one under the ground.
Or mistaking a urinal for a drinking fountain.
#1. The Toilet With a 30-Story Drop
Felix is a high-end restaurant in Hong Kong, located in the upper floors of the Peninsula Hotel. Most of the exterior wall is a long, sweeping window that gives the restaurant an awesome view of the city.
"Boy, I wish there was a way my penis could experience this view!"
That's pretty damn cool, until you need to go to the bathroom, and you realize that the view doesn't stop at the bar.
It features the world's only "Surprise Bidet."
For those of you who can't tell, this is a men's room, and those black things in the back are the urinals, which stand directly against a 30-story drop to the pavement below. If you're afraid of heights, you'll probably want to pee with your eyes closed.
The view is hailed as the best in Hong Kong, and that may be true, but we're not sure that the best time to experience it is while we're trying to focus on evacuating our bladders. Though it does award you the experience of feeling as though you're pissing on downtown Hong Kong.
Of course, you have no way of knowing that there isn't someone in one of those nearby buildings with a pair of binoculars seeking their own awesome view. (We're talking about your dick.)
Special thanks to Jack Hall, R. Barr, Evan V. Symon and Jim Avery for each providing a small bit of assistance or encouragement that helped make this article possible. For more from Kier, check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.