Up above on the 12th floor, the side of the building that faces East lies the ladies’ room. There must be a little thing about women that lures architects into almost always favoring ladies room to men’ room in their designs. What I mean here is the view from toilets. I remember back in college, the ladies’ room of our building A was my ever-favorite, because the big glass window looks right out to an open sky; while next to ours, the men’s room is a dark closet lacking both light and privacy: girls may get lucky (or not so lucky, depending on your level of integrity and innocence) catching boys peeing from the hallway. Just one glance. Many times I wondered how our boys could “go” under such spotlight pressure.
Now in this 12th floor ladies’ room, I already picked my favorite spot. We all know what a modern building toilet looks like: a large mirror, three to four sinks, hand dryer, and a string of toilet cabins, which are one of few things in the world we have all the freedom to make a choice. (Now you feel empowered, huh?) A little off topic, but I am the kind of kids that during childhood spent too much time playing on my own, because either no one had time for me, or no one could stand me. This results in the fact that I’m obsessed with the “my world” standards: my own room, my personal cup, my preferred spoon, and of course, in this case, my favorite toilet cabin. But I am pretty sure I’m not alone in this. Oh admit it, you have your own preferred cabin right? The one you’d go in without thinking, and feel quite upset if it was occupied by someone else (or some ONES? OK, maybe I’ve digested too much of R-rated movies). It’s definitely not the last one in the innermost corner (everything looks dull and dirty in the corner!). Maybe the one in the middle, but it’s, for some obscure reason, often is the busiest cabin. So after a few times visitting this place, given the assumption that all cabins are equally well-functioned and equipped, I’ve selected my boo: the first one, right there when I walk in, positioned in the (seemingly) best-lit and cleanest spot, and well, who cares what cabin I did pick? They all look the same behind closed doors.
And the relaxing break time starts, now.
The door has been locked, and I’m alone in this small space. Wow, isn’t it amazing? This could be the only place where we can do whatever we want without the fear of someone ordinary walking in, or trying to stalk us. Sick people may do that, otherwise we’re not gonna end up being the villains no matter what we do in a toilet cabin. So I start to think. Well, first I close my eyes and try having a little nap. Why not? It’ cool and quiet here, sometimes it even smells of flowery odor, plus I’m in a very pleasant state. Better still, no one knows it, hence I don’t look tired or lazy to anyone. But after all it’s quite hard sleeping while seated, so I opt out to other less-sleepy activies, like, singing. Music is already there in the air as I casually walk in a toilet with my earphones on. Naturally you can’t help yourself singing along while you’re alone in an empty space with music being the only thing that is blissfully filling your ears. My voice sounds incredible within a toilet! Your voice would sound like Mariah Carey, too, but aren’t you too normal to sing in public toilets? Suddenly some lady would walk in right at the peak of my chorus, and there goes my liveshow. Quiet! Just stay quiet. Who is she? There’s only one office in this floor, so high chances are that I know her. Then she’d use the cabin right next to me, and from beyond the thin wooden wall I could hear vividly any sound over there. There was this one time I even leaned down to see her shoes and made a guess about her identity, but from then on I realized how sick it was, so believe me, I stopped. It was merely an on-the-spur-of-the-moment guilty pleasure to act like you’re in a crime movie and you want to play the detective, but end up being closer to the criminal. But I liked it.
This whole stalking business reminds me of middle school days. No I did not stalk anyone back then, but there was this time the school was sort of out, my then best friend asked me to guard for her from outside while she checked on the boys’ toilet. She said she was on some mission from her teacher, and that definitely related to a rumor in our school that some couples were kissing in toilets. Oh middle school kids! Eventually I never found out what the mission really was, and five minutes standing outside that boys’ bathroom was one of the most awkward moments in my life.
So what is the best thing to do in a toilet? Of course, besides the main cause it was made for. I’d say, reading. I liked a fanpage on Facebook named “I love reading in bathrooms”, even wetted my eyes a little bit knowing I’m not alone. Believing in my hobby so much, I set a special place in my bookshelf for “books for paradise time”, including mostly comics books, magazines, and sometimes, well, OK, celebrities’ biographies (which turn out to be incredibly inspiring in here). One time I was burying my nose in a manga; as the spoilers said, one character was about to die in an accident, which was going to be a very tearful episode. It was a very tearful episode, seriously. The only thing not very heart-touching about it was I did not know when the mentioned tragic incident was to happen, so I ended up reading it while seated in a toilet. I laughed at myself so hard at the same time I was shedding big tears for the manga. It was the most heart-wrenching moment in a manga, I guess, and also was an ironically hysterical moment for me.
Sitting in a clean toilet cabin, or a bathroom at home, is considerably close to getting lost in heaven. It’s safe. It’s mostly warm. It’s quiet. Only you. Out there some tiring work may be waiting, some hard talk may approach, but in here nothing matters anymore. There are some situations in life where we feel exactly the same: we are comfortable, and we just want the state to last forever. But hey, that a toilet doesn’t stink never means it is a hundred percent hygenic; and however safe it is, if you spend more than thirty minutes in there, the world would hunt you down. Real life is out there. The game is till on.
So however safe and comfortable it may feel, don’t stay here. No one stays in a toilet forever. And no one should.