One brief shining toilet

Last year, I moved into an office on the second floor because, logistically, logically, it made sense. Six months later, logisticallyer, logicallyer, it makes more sense for me to move back where I came from. It’s kind of like getting deported, except I don’t fear for my life and the greatest inconvenience is having to hang my pictures again.

I’m at peace with the move. For one, I’ll be close to the printer, so now when I stand in front of it for several minutes, waiting for it to spew my project, I won’t have so far to travel when I finally remember I forgot to press “print.”

I’ll also be closer to the coffeemaker, which some days feels so far away I can’t be bothered to get out of my chair to get the coffee I need to have the motivation to get out of my chair to get the coffee, a classic caffeinated Catch-22.

But it’s not without regret, this move. In doing so, I’m giving up a workplace perk that some people only ever dream of: a private bathroom.

This is about more than having a private place to take care of business at my business, though there is much to be said about that. Yes, yes, even the Queen poops, but you don’t want to think about that. You don’t want to walk into a bathroom just as a co-worker is walking out. You don’t need those mental or sensory images. What if the seat’s still warm? What if they left behind a horror show? What if you’re just about to go into a meeting together? That’s hard to move past.

It’s even worse if you’re the one coming out. Your co-worker will know for a fact that you are disgusting. Even if you were just in there to fix your hair in the mirror, they’re not buying it. You’re gross. Everybody poops – in theory! No one wants hard evidence.

I like to make a big show of shaking my damp hands or wiping them ostentatiously on my pants so people know for certain that at least I washed my hands. Usually I’m doing this anyway because I’ve failed to operate the motion sensor paper towel dispenser.

With a private bathroom, on the other hand, you can poop with impunity… impoonity. No need to scope out the joint, time your entrances and exits, curse the man or woman who invented vindaloo shrimp.

But avoiding the unsavoury is just one of the benefits of a loo all for you. As I’ve discovered over the last few months, my small corner privy is a little oasis in the workday, a place I can escape too whenever the urge manifests itself. I know that there’s a magazine in there, folded over to the page I left off last time. A stack of magazines. My magazines.

I can take my time. No one’s going to walk up and rattle the door. I don’t have to say, in a tense, quaking voice, “Almost done!” If things don’t work out the first time, I can always go back for seconds. No one will know.

A makeup mirror, in which I can gaze deep into the abyss of my open pores.

My toothbrush sits in a glass by the sink. I can brush my teeth without judgement, because it’s odd how much people frown upon spitting into a communal sink, even in the name of combating tooth decay and the hazards of workplace halitosis, which I think we can all agree is very real.

The extra rolls of toilet paper are within reach under the sink. A lovely hand towel hangs there, occasionally replaced by housekeeping. There’s not a motion sensor in sight.

There’s a mousetrap under the sink, and occasionally it will catch a visitor. They usually go unnoticed for a day or two, at which time I sniff the air and think, “Did I do that?” No, it’s a dead mouse, but even if I did do that, so what? I would just close the door of my private bathroom.

It’s purely a matter of logicness and logisticness that I ended up with a private bathroom in the first place, but it feels like workplace prestige. I bet the Queen has a private bathroom.

So as much as I regret having to pack up my books and files for the second time in a year, greater still is the regret that, unlike the Queen, I will no longer have a throne of my own.

I also regret that I never got to use my private shower.

I have two days.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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44 Responses to One brief shining toilet

  1. markbialczak says:

    Private bathroom! You had it going on, Ross. (Ba-da-boom.) Sorry for your loss, indeed.

    At the library, our work-floor men’s room is placed right next to the Big Break Room. Which is their traditional name for what I would call the Lunch Room.

    I eat at my desk.

    FYI, my go-to phrase when the door rattles while I’m still the man is “in here!”

  2. I think this is my first time commenting here, but I have to object to this post.
    The Queen does not “poop”.
    In the tradition of Dunkirk, she Orchestrates an Evacuation.
    And speaking of orchestrate…one positive thought about the really large, tiled public restrooms: acoustics. Great place to sing and whistle. I generally stick with excerpts from Gilbert & Sullivan, but sometimes the ringing, chimes, bells, beeps, etc. from other people’s phones, joined with various basso profundo toots, creates a perfect atmosphere for scat-singing, if you’ll pardon the expression.

  3. pinklightsabre says:

    I can never really imagine such a perk. But a part of me likes the communal quality of the public bathroom. Great place for spontaneous meetings and to get work done. Lots of awkward spatial-relationship moments, lots of ostentatious and-drying. Yes, you’ve got material here.

  4. pinklightsabre says:


  5. Elyse says:

    I’m pretty sure most people in my office would love to give me my own private bathroom. Sigh.

  6. ksbeth says:

    it’s almost better than having your own desk.

  7. “Everybody poops – in theory! No one wants hard evidence.”

    Soft, loose evidence is far, far worse.

    “a place I can escape too whenever the urge manifests itself”

    Please, under no circumstances, specify which urge. Or what magazines.

    “I also regret that I never got to use my private shower. I have two days.”

    For many of the Y chromosome, shower and toilet are synonymous. At least, the soft, loose evidence supports that fact. Do us all a favor and keep a little mystery between us in this blogging relationship.

  8. List of X says:

    If a mousetrap in your private bathroom keeps catching mice, then I guess your bathroom isn’t so private then, is it? Sure, mice aren’t people, but do you know how judgemental mice can be? I don’t know, that’s why I ask.

  9. I’m very particular about where I do my business. I need privacy, quiet, a fan, endless time and my mobile phone. I have a very delicate constitution. I can only perform under these exact conditions. Sorry but that’s what my bowels demand.

  10. At a job I suspected I was not long to keep, I used premptive bathroom terrorism. They were fickle, so I went fecal. I made the exec bathroom my place of business. I enjoyed “yuck factor” immunity from prosecution: the exec sec was too prim to raise the subject and the C-suite gang were dieties whose chariots did not swing that low. Tactically, if they rattled, I shouted, “occupado!” so they would figure I was an ESL hire and avoid speaking to me at all costs. They just glared at me as I exited, whistling a guileless, “now that’s better!” tune in those heady, pre-Febreeze days of yore.

  11. Whose butt did you kiss to get a private loo? Did you neglect to keep kissing this butt?? (Into every private loo a little busted butt shall come – or something like that?)

  12. gavinkeenan says:

    Proximity to a copy machine vs a nice, private loo. I think you got a bum deal. Light a match prior to exiting. They’ll be glad you did.

  13. THIS is why I don’t work, except at home. But every time I use one of those porta potties at an “event”, I do a lot of conspicuous rubbing of hands with the hand sanitizer gel, for the reasons you mentioned. Funny post Ross!

  14. carswithasideofcouscous says:

    Brilliant! Very funny.

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