Can someone explain to me why, when in an office building with multiple floors, there needs to be a lock on the public bathroom? What is the purpose of this lockdown? Why does the bathroom have more security than the offices that we are visiting?
At first, it is an uncomfortable experience having to ask the receptionist that I need to relieve myself. Is this something that I want to share with a stranger? This warden of the bathroom then gives me the key, normally attached to a bizarre chain holder. Sometimes it is a big wood block. Other times it is a furry ball. As a result, the key needs to be held in an awkward manner for all the world to see that I am heading for the John. Now ask yourself why? Are people contemplating not returning it so the key chain creates a disincentive? Even if you do not return it, this is not a one of a kind security key that would require a locksmith to be called.
Speaking about these office floor bathrooms, have you seen the state of condition and amenities in there? I don’t even feel comfortable opening the door with my hand – fearing bacteria on the handle. I like to use my sleeved wrist if possible. My goal is not to contract an illness during entry.
When entering the promised land of the bathroom, it is a place you want to go in, and then go out, as quickly as possible. This is not a place most people tend to loiter or set up shop to steal the building’s free wi-fi connection. One normally wants to “do their business” and leave. The aroma of the urinal puck and the one toilet that did not flush properly is worse than the stench near the sewers of Calcutta.
If the purpose is to protect the contents of the public bathroom from “lavatories thieves,” ask yourself what would you actually want to take home with you? Does the office landlord think I am going to walk in with a cup to drain the generic liquid soap to use as my home shower gel? Am I going to come in with a Phillips screwdriver to unlock the toilet paper dispenser to steal the roll? These bathroom are not known for their appealing amenities. They are bare as a prison bathroom and the cleanliness is often less than desired.
Now comes the real uncomfortable part of the public bathroom experience…The length of time you are in there. We have all had a moment that relieving yourself is not a quick endeavor.
If I am not back returning the key within 10 minutes, I know the receptionist is starting to have a tizzy fit. She must be thinking I have done something suspicious in nature. Is she going to have to answer to her boss if the key is not returned? What is going through her head?
I can proffer a likely scenario. This might not sound pretty but I like to be frank. Is there a possibility that I have a bout of constipation? It is the human condition that this can happen from time to time. If this is the case – while trying to deal with this dilemma and being embarrassed by other people who have entered the bathroom, curious what is going on behind that pale blue rusted metal toilet door – I am feeling immense pressure (no pun intended).
Likewise, I might decide to read the news or play Candy Crush on my smart phone. This may take additional time.
Once I finally leave Fort Knox – the public bathroom with more security than a bank entrance – I then need to confront the receptionist knowing that she will have total distrust in what I was doing in the bathroom. To make matters worse, I am are certainly not going to tell this stranger if I had a bowel challenge that took me longer than normal. Even if it was not a bout of constipation, but rather texting my friend while sitting on the throne, I know the receptionist will still think the worst. The look when I give her back the key, past the length of the normal time span, is a source of such embarrassment as she looks at me with contempt. Is she thinking I was doing something nefarious in the bathroom?
The truth is that I was replying to an email and it was easier for me to be seated in relative seclusion than writing on the run. Her darting stare then causes me to have severe stress which has then forced me to go back to the bathroom for round two! I can assure you there will be no constipation on this return visit.
Congratulations…The bathroom key will soon be safe and sound, back on her desk, but not after this absurd experience.