, Research Paper
More Than a Location of Defecation
When I first entered room 414 Territorial Hall, I was immediately struck by its vastness. To think that a room of this size could be totally dedicated to the bodily functions of college boys was something I found hard to swallow. The room seemed endless. Sink after sink marched down the center wall of the room into the distance. The high vaulting ceiling was dizzying to behold. And the colors! More shades of peach than you could possibly ask for. To say that this lavatory was fit for kings was an understatement. I subconsciously began looking for the attendant who hands out towels.
The room had the slightly antiseptic smell one associates with cleanliness. The sinks were gleaming, and the floors shined, reflecting images back to rival the spotless mirrors. The showers were clean and spoke of the modern design of the building. They included numerous small conveniences to limit the unpleasantness of a 6am shower. And the windows! Large and stylish, not only did they provide an admirable view of the expansive grounds below, but to the right was another excellent view of the women’s bathroom window. The windows could be slid open, and providing the ladies were inclined to do the same, there was a line of site that makes me wonder as to the architects purpose in such positioning.
I’d entertained ideas of coming to find a small bathroom with a bath and toilet. Said room wood be cleaned only on weekdays, so that when drunken students emptied the contents of their stomachs onto the floor Friday night, it would sit until Monday. I’d been assaulted with horror stories of dirty one-person bathrooms that had no hot water and toilets that flushed only on occasion. I am by nature a rather clean person, and thinking of putting up with that type of situation was something I didn’t relish. This idea I had was also one of the foremost reasons I had been giving serious consideration to renting an apartment with a friend rather than opting for dorm life.
Such was not the case. I’ve yet to walk through a puddle of vomit, or observe a person passed out on the floor below the urinals. Nor have I seen any overcrowding-an excellent plus, because we all know that overcrowding can lead to dilated adrenal glands, intense distress, and homosexuality-none of which qualify as advantageous to the average college youth. The former is associated with a shortened life span, the second is abundant enough, and the latter can lead to boot marks on the head. With 3 showers, 3 toilets, 2 urinals, and 8 sinks, this lavatory was capable of providing service to many young men. As I walked around the room, I consciously tried to find some sign that this was a typical college bathroom that I had been convinced would await me. On the contrary, I began to notice additional details I’d neglected before.
One of the sinks boasted a hose with sprayer end instead of the common faucet, designed to assist in the cleaning of dishes. Plenty of clothes pegs were attached near the showers, so that each person showering had 4 at their disposal. There were also little containers bolted to the interior walls of the stalls, large enough for a few books, whose use I still have not discerned. I know some that use these boxes to hold their phones, but I believe that their intended function shall continue to baffle the male residents of T-Hall.
To my pleasure, my initial observations led to a feeling of relief. This was to be the same feeling I would come to know and love time and again in the same room. I’ve noticed that many others also feel the same way. In general, those that make a visit to the room exit with a better demeanor and a better smelling body. It thrills me to know that others share the joy of those experiences. Anything that has the capability to bring us together and positively alter our mood in such a way is most certainly a benefit not only to the individual, but also to the university as a whole.
I believe that one can draw parallels between the quality of a person’s bathroom and the satisfaction and gratification said person obtains out of life. If this is true, then I must count myself lucky in more ways than one to be blessed with a bathroom of such colossal proportions and perks. Certainly, you must elect not to envy those college students who are, because their institution is small or antiquated, left in the lurch when it comes to bathrooms. I have come to realize that the stereotype that previously held sway in my mind was more than likely a result of such out-of-date colleges and that at a more modern school, those problems would never arise. This is another reason I hold the belief that the only way to know what college is like is to experience it for yourself. Many of the problems I expected to encounter never manifested and many I’d never imagined sprang up unexpectedly.
One of my most memorable experiences in the bathroom occurred around 3am on a Saturday night. A few of my friends and I had just come back from a friendly get-together located in a backyard near the middle of nowhere. I can’t really recall the location or what I did since at the time my thoughts seemed to be somewhat muddled. Anyway, as I walked down the hallway, I noticed three people standing outside of the bathroom. Since this is directly beside the door to my room, I inquired as to why they were gathered there. They informed me that there were two others in the bathroom, both in a shower stall, but only one being male. I smiled at this, and with the help of my less-than-clear thinking, entered the bathroom to see for myself. I was not surprised to notice an absence of light, a closed shower curtain and two sets of shoes peaking out below it. Numerous sounds were emanating from the area that aren’t typically associated with a bathroom shower stall.
Immediately after my entrance, the curtain was ripped aside and two disgruntled kids stumbled out, made their way down the hall and entered a room farther down. It seems that some people can find other uses than the obvious for the bathroom. With this incident in mind, the following week I managed to secure a “Bathroom Closed For Cleaning” sign used by the cleaning lady to keep people out while she goes about her duties. In this way I ensured that similar embarrassment on my part would not transpire in the future. The only foreseeable problem not is that when people see that the cleaning lady is working at 3am, they might think it a bit odd.
Since my inaugural scrutiny of the basic layout of the room, I have walked its hallowed floor many a time. The chamber has come to have great meaning to me, beyond the simple functions it masterfully performs. Dozens of hours spent in quiet introspection and deliberation have rendered a significance I associate with the room that has less to do with the fixtures hanging from the walls as it does with the mood I am inclined to upon entering.
I believe that part of the appeal I see in the bathroom stems from the fact that it’s a constant. In a world of so many variables and uncertainties, the bathroom will always be there, crying out “Use me, find solace between my walls”. The very nature of the bathroom is comforting, relieving and mood altering. For some, the type of euphoria encountered there is almost like a drug. Such an atmosphere helps those who are regularly bombarded with chaotic occurrences keep their heads above the rising waves of lunacy.
I feel that as the year progresses, I shall have many more exciting and memorable experiences in the 4th floor men’s bathroom at T-Hall. The time I’ve spent to date has left me with a different perspective on life, for I know that no matter how crazy the world is outside, there will always be the bathroom. Be it five minutes or ten, the period of calmness is something I’ll always look forward to. I will sorely miss the room after moving out next year, but plan to make time for visits when my schedule permits. This room has made me a more satisfied and contented person. A better person.