Once not too long ago, when I was traveling, I found myself in need of a break for the purposes of refueling and using the restroom. I exited the interstate and found a fairly large, modern Texaco station. As I filled the gas tank I studied the store in the heart of the station. The walls were floor to ceiling windows, and the door was a two-section automatic sliding glass affair, matching the walls in transparency, and not having pronounced frames. The doors, when closed, were smoothly integrated with the walls except for an assortment of stickers related to the prohibition of tobacco sales to minors and the credit cards accepted at the establishment adorning the bottom, and the seams where the doors met the walls and each other.

When the fuel pump shut off I replaced my gas cap and entered the store to use the facilities. The restroom was strikingly designed in what must be the Texaco corporate colors: red, black and white. What made this facility interesting, however, aside from what was, in my experience, the rather unusual use of the color red for restroom decor, was the black toilet and sink.

I have found that toilet color tends to occupy a fairly limited spectrum. I generally see all sorts of shades of white, off-white and beige, and less often tan, silver (for those in certain public restrooms that are actually made of metal), and green (for bathrooms from the 1970s). I don’t think that I had ever before seen a black one, and It was actually rather strange. It was so dark that it was hard to determine anything about the water, which must have been the point.

If the fixtures had been white they would have fit in with the decor just as well, but keeping jet black surfaces looking clean in a public use environment is certainly much easier than maintaining bright white ones. I wonder how widespread this idea will become.

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