Thursday, January 22, 2009

Public Washrooms

I hate people.

Callous, insensitive, self-centred. Other people are the worst. Sartre was right, "hell is other people".

But if hell is other people, then exposure to other people and their private bodily functions is the former's ninth circle (Cocytus).

I have a broken stomach. It (like everything else) is constantly against me, and while I am at work it frequently betrays my best wishes, forcing me to visit the men's room.

A short escursion to that foul, accursed place is tolerable at best - assuming no one else is in there.

But if I have lengthy business to attend to in the restroom, then I find myself risking the arrival of a stall neighbor - a punishment for having human needs to attend to that is far more cruel than the comprehension of my own mortality, I assure you.

So I sit, in silence, trying not to breathe too loud, hoping that whoever it is sitting not 12 inches away from me will just get the hell out and leave me alone to do my business in private.

That's all I want when I'm in the washroom! Privacy! If my body makes unpleasant noises or smells, I don't want to have to step out of the stall and look my boss in the eye...and then come back to my desk, only to sit facing him across the office!

Or worse, having my boss enter after me, only to have to sit and listen to him making similarly evil noises or scents. Breathing through my mouth so as not to throw up in my own lap.

It's horrible. And yet who can I blame? We can't not have washrooms. Everyone needs to go sooner or later. When I'm pounding can after can of soda at my desk, my body can only take so much abuse. The same can only be assumed of everyone else. An eight hour day is a long one to not have a place for a moments respite.

But public washrooms? Stalls that are not fully enclosed, ventilated or sound-proofed? Why wouldn't you design them that way? Why these awful open spaces, with walls low enough that I can see over them when I stand up straight?

No, public washrooms are poorly conceived places of terror and woe that more often than not leave me rushing home in furious concentration to relax in the privacy of my own bathroom.

A place where I can lock the door, take my time, and not worry about interruptions or other people's gastrointestinal catastrophies.

I guess the bottom line is that going to the bathroom would be great...if it wasn't for other people.


LWM said...

Thanks for joining in the fight against stupidity.

calicolyst said...

Let me put it this way: public bathrooms are a necessary evil.

Amused said...

I love your work!