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Zone Confusion or Washroom Pioneers? at Earls Don’t Say Bread Say Bacchus Restaurant

In the late 1500s, Sir John Harington invented the “Ajax” – an early prototype for what we now know and love as the toilet. Harington’s model, with a water tank, valve, and bowl, was quite similar to the modern day flushable toilet, but his invention was discarded as it was thought of as disgusting. The ajax/toilet took nearly another 200 years to catch on, and the term “john” [as used to describe the toilet] is believed by many to be a reference to its inventor, who was never recognized during his lifetime. This founding father of sanitary defecation provides yet another example of revolutionaries who were way ahead of their time. Will Earls’ two-tier washing stations, much like Harington’s invention, be yet another example of potty-time revolution?

No.

Mild confusion and a pinch of revulsion begin to swell as we enter Earls Washroom Zone 1, which consists of four sinks and black leather sofa [it should be noted that no biohazard protective suits were supplied for those who wanted to sit on the couch]. The couch likely exists to provide a swanky sense of leisure to one’s washroom visit, which is a little bit creepy and a lot bit stupid. I am very good at washing my hands, but it is not a skill I wish to invite complete strangers to witness, particularly not the sort who actively choose to sit and bask in the atmosphere of Washroom Zone 1. The confusion, though, stems from the two sets of sinks located beside the entrance of both Women’s and Men’s washrooms in Washroom Zone 1. Two more sets of sinks are located in Washroom Zone 2, and when passing from the WZ1 to WZ2, it strikes one as a bit bizarre, as it’s difficult to understand why Earls’ would splurge, of all things, on a profusion of washroom sinks. Unless, of course, revolution is in the air and Earls’ is trying to be incredibly hygienic by encouraging incoming and outgoing hand-washing. If scrubbing up in WZ1 is requisite for entering WZ2, there is no signage to indicate any such expectation. And far be it from me to downplay the potential for important societal developments pioneered by Earls’ restaurants, but to think that they might be trying to upgrade the humanity’s washroom going habits by offering incoming and outgoing washing stations might be a bit much.

Everything in WZ2 is all good and fine. Stalls are fine roomy enough and the toilets have nice flushing power. Sinks are also fine, which have facets that look a bit like thin elephant trunks. The paper towel basket is also very nice and fine. The micro-urinals would be a disgrace if not for the individual urinal chamber, equipped with handles for the wobbly and germically adventurous, and an extra low urinal, which is great for long-range target practice for adults and children alike. It’s all fine.

But seriously, what is with WZ1? Had there been no sinks in WZ2, WZ1 would make a lot more sense. But instead we get two sets of sinks, which present a massive problem to fellow washroom hand-washing-observers, which will now be explained in unnecessary detail: If after finishing my long range shot, I decide to skip the sinks in WZ2 and clean up in WZ1, will any fellow washroom goers, currently in WZ2, believe I’m going full Poppi and skipping hand-washing altogether? The same problem arises for washroom visitors currently in WZ1 who happen to pass by you on your way out of WZ2. Do I need to stop and explain to strangers the complicated relationship of navigating two washroom zones – that I completed my full washing duties in WZ2 and so my passing through WZ1 without washing is actually still very hygienic and I don’t deserve that foul look that s/he was probably giving me? And yet, it gets worse. What if you’re at some Earls’ social mixer and you later shake hands with someone who either saw you skip WZ1 or WZ2, and you sense the apprehension in their sweaty palms to be locked in handshake with what they believe to be your completely unwashed hands? Is the first conversation that you and your new friend must have during your reluctant handshake an explanation of which WZ you skipped, along with forceful assurance that both Zones were not skipped? This is now way to make friends. Will anyone ever talk to you again if they see how much of a concern you have over WZ1 and WZ2? Probably not. Therefore, the only logical thing to do is, post-washroom, to wash in both WZ1 and WZ2, making Earls the least environmentally friendly washroom/restaurant/thing in the world. Good burgers, though.

-3/5

[Washrooms are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with a maximum rating of 1 and a minimum of -5]