Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Absence of a Toilet

When the Germans finished up their census recently, they came to this startling conclusion.  There are actually 700,000 apartments in the country....without a toilet inside of the apartment.

An American would sit and ask questions on this.  How is this possible?

Well....after the war....there were still buildings standing.  The vast majority had maybe one toilet on each floor, split between two or three apartments.  Over the years, nothing changed or upgraded.  So here we are seventy years after the war, and still no real modifications.

Who rents such a place?  Someone who really wants a cheap situation.  For a studio apartment with a hallway toilet split between a couple of occupants....you'd likely pay less than 200 Euro in a major city, and maybe a hundred Euro in a smaller town.

How many of such apartments stand empty?  On any given day....there are a fair number in this category.  But there are people without a great paying job, and they are willing to accept such a situation.

Years ago, in the 1980s, I remember one of the military guys I worked with in the Ramstein area.....got a tip on a cheap apartment in Kaiserslautern.  He goes out.....surveys the place....turns it down.  Later, we were discussing this.  No toilet inside of the place....just one split between the empty place and by a second apartment with a old guy.  If you wanted to take a shower or use the toilet, you had to walk out of your apartment and use that room.  My associate simply wasn't going to get himself into such a situation.

How many years will this continue?  I'm humbly guessing that even when 2050 rolls around, there will still be 500,000 apartments in such a condition.

No comments: