Friday, March 13, 2009

What Evil Lurks, Part 2

Fat Tulips--"My Secret Place" (mp3)
Fleet Foxes--"Drops In The River" (mp3)

And while we're on the subject of toilets.....

I know this for a fact: there is a toilet in the main building at school. It is the most coveted toilet on campus. Why? Because it is a solo toilet, most certainly a rarity at an all-boys school. Even if you are a woman at this school, you can fully expect that because there aren't many options for you on this male-oriented campus, they are going to cram as many female stalls in one location as they can. But for you, too, there is that most coveted, private, female toilet down on the first floor of the main building. Next to the male one.

So here's what happened: my boss, who pretty much runs the show, meets an appointment with a faculty member. At this time of year, he has every right to expect that this is a difficult salary talk, especially since there are no raises and because this guy should actually have his salary cut. So my boss welcomes him into his office, expecting the worst. What does the faculty member want to talk about? That most coveted, first floor toilet!

It seems that, unilaterally, the staff members who work on that floor, especially the technology people, have put signs on the doors of the toilets in question implying that they don't work. What the users of that toilet don't know is that a) because of a broken pipe, whatever smells you create are going to drift into the tech office and b) at least one person in the tech office is keeping track of how long you are in your "private" stall and what you have probably been doing in there. So much for privacy.

So, the faculty member is outraged. So outraged that he accuses those staff members of lying! He wants them to get, in effect, a faculty "honor offense" for not telling the truth and lying about the functioning ability of said toilet. You probably think he works in the building. You would be wrong. In fact, he walks from at least two building away to "make his toilet" in this building. Ah, the luxury of that private, one-man gastrointestinal facility. In some countries, people would kill for it. In civilized America, instead, you expect your boss to do something about it.

As for the rest of us, well, we have apparently become resigned to public toilet use. My bathroom is two doors down, has three stalls and eight urinals and is the main stopping point for students in the entire building.

Now, don't get me wrong, I can be a pretty private guy, but I don't have any problem with a public place. I guess I think, from years of school locker rooms and college, even coed, bathrooms, from years of amusement parks and shopping malls, that if I can just get into a stall and lock the door, that's all of the privacy I'm ever going to get or need. I think most of us, if we can just get a little space and four walls, can create the illusion that we are alone. I, for one, cannot imagine travelling across campus just to get to my "special" bathroom. Heck, even my colleague with a colostomy bag uses the public bathroom!

In the age of technology, I find that most males get into their stall and break out their cell phone or their Ipod or whatever and just make a pleasant time of it. Me, I play "Zuma" on my Ipod. But those students, they get in there and start texting like crazy. Sometimes, more troubling, I hear the rattling of papers--as in notes for quzzes that they are taking, etc.

Just like most every other aspect of modern life, the toilet outside of your own home calls into question issues of privacy and space and separation. But I think for most of us, perhaps Larry Craig excepted, the bathroom isn't a major cause celebre for privacy; it's just a place you make accomodations for when you need to use it. I mean, it isn't Camp Poop, where you pitch a tent and hang out. Cause if you play that "Zuma" too long, I mean, really get on a roll, your legs start to go numb and then when you stand up, by the time you wash your hands, your legs are so full of painful pins and needles from the returning circulation that you can barely walk back to your office without looking like you are 80+ years old taking painful, tentative step after painful, tentative step.

I haven't done that, of course, but I've heard that's what it's like.

8 comments:

Jason said...

Bob,

Is that first picture from a picture from a bathroom in SK? Certainly looks familiar....:)

I would love to add an addendum to these last two hilarious blog items about the variety of toilets found in this country. It could go on for hours though.

Bob said...

Jason, that is, in fact, the bathroom from the War Memorial Museum. You certainly have a good eye for Asian bathrooms!

Chris Carpenter said...

The bathroom on my floor is under water at least once a week because of a urinal that overflows. This post makes me glad I forgot to mention it during my contract talk, but also a little bit curious about other potential potty problems on the Ridge...

Tockstar said...

The Ladies' bathroom on Chris' floor isn't even unlocked because guys will use it. Btw, ALL of our restrooms are single stall. It's our only retreat. However, it's not always an escape, as one particular female colleague will stand in the bathroom and make conversation with you while you're making. Not cool. Not cool at all.

Anonymous said...

Tockstar, I've been known to use the ladies' room in Tate. Don't know if that's where you are.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Academic Building. There are still plenty of unlocked options, fortunately.

George Costanza said...

IT'S ALL PIPES!!!!

Jerry Seinfeld said...

Can we stop it with the pee, pipe, poop stuff?!?