As I posted yesterday, I’m working in a different location on campus. Same job, different office, the fourth move in five years. You’d think I’d be good at this by now. Sadly, no.
Our new offices are pretty awesome, although still in need of a few homey touches. The only complaint I have is that we have a shared lavatory with the entire floor, which are unisex bathrooms just across from the elevators. For the entire wing, there are only two.
What I have learned is the ego-centric society such as ours, refuses to acknowledge a locked door that they feel should be open. How does one appropriately respond whilst sitting on the toilet when someone tries the door, finding it locked and then knocking anyway? Nothing provokes fear and anger in an awkward saurus like having to justify going to the bathroom when someone else refuses to accept that it might be occupied.
The inevitable fear washes over me, crippled by the terrible idea that I may not have locked the door correctly and that at any minute some crazed stranger could come barging in while I have my pants around my ankles. The angry knock that follows, as though I had taken the bathroom they wanted as though I am somehow less worthy to use, demands some kind of acknowledgement. How does one appropriately respond? “Occupied!” or “Leave me be, I’m pooping!” seem to be too gruff. “Just a minute” is no good either, in case someone is actually timing me. I imagine an angry person tapping their foot, counting the seconds down just outside the door.
Of course, when I’m rushed, everything goes wrong. The automatic flush won’t work, or goes off twice, wrongfully indicating that I’ve been trying to flush something of ludicrous size. The motion sensor for the faucet won’t turn on, and once initiated, won’t shut off. The same goes for the paper towel dispenser. Finally finished, I try to leave and the waiting patron is standing far too close to the door, nearly blocking me from leaving. Maybe, from now on, I’ll just hold it.