7/10/2007

Don't Just Sit There!

Yesterday I did something unspeakable. I used a public bathroom at Union Station. I avoid doing this when possible because public bathrooms often tend toward the grotty. Bravely in I charged because the situation demanded it.

This particular bathroom featured some old and very open urinals. I don’t generally like to display the goods without seeing the money up front and so I went to one of the stalls.

As long as there’s a modicum of creativity involved, I’m a fan of graffiti. This stall didn't have much to offer apart from the usual mix of bad limericks and poorly rendered drawings of the anatomy of both sexes but then I caught sight of a few simple words printed off to one side that really got me.

I don’t want to be alone anymore.

How sad, I thought. And then I thought, maybe if you didn’t spend all your time alone in a bathroom stall with a marker, you wouldn’t feel so alone, asshole.

39 comments:

Flannery Alden said...

Totally!

Coaster Punchman said...

The mere thought of a transit station bathroom stall sends shivers down my spine. And not the good kind. You are one brave man.

deadspot said...

Funny you should ask about pay toilets, because I just read the answer to your question.

Pay toilets were instituted as a way to encourage people to take better care of public bathrooms. It was reasoned that people would have higher regard for a service that they had to pay for than one that was free. In fact, the opposite happened: pay toilets suffered much higher rates of vandalism from outraged patrons than did traditional free toilets, and were often trashed by people retaliating for being forced to pay to use the toilet.

However, even that did not bring an end to the experiment. Then, a group of women lodged a class action gender discrimination suit against a municipality which had installed pay toilets, on the grounds that men did not have to pay to urinate while women did.

The threat of lawsuits from women who pee, combined with the higher maintenance costs of maintaining the heavily vandalized facilities, spelled the end of their brief popularity.

Wait. Was that a rhetorical question?

Chancelucky said...

Interesting stuff there Dale. I need to go flush something now.

Bella Rossa said...

Oh, that's very touching and sad. It's sort of like Post Secret in bathroom form (and I don't mean that to be flippant, like you were toward the end of the post). (::poke poke::)

Fun bit of Bella Rossa trivia: my grandma was a weird combination of germ freak and cheap-ass who used to force some of her grandchildren to slide under the door of pay toilets to let her in. (How that didn't contribute to the further familial distribution of disgusting germs, I have no idea. But she's German and a little nutso, so...)

Dale said...

You have a new avatar Flannery! Totally!

Believe me, I shivered too Coaster Punchman.

I was thinking more of the self contained ones Deadspot although I would pay also to see people vandalize them.

Not my blog I hope Chancelucky.

It was touching and sad but then I couldn't stop my dark heart Bella. There is a website called Pictures of Walls if you've not seen it. Maybe I should go back and take a photo. That's pretty funny about your Grandma!

chelene said...

Hey, we all miss the heyday of the glory hole but that's no reason to get all melancholy.

I'll be in Hell if anyone needs me.

Evil Genius said...

The other day I saw some graffiti scrawled on the plywood sidewalk enclosure near a construction area. it was something to the effect of, "We are ignorant because the American government feeds us lies and bullshit." I desperately wanted a Sharpie so that I could amend it to read,"And because you refuse to take any responsibility and allow yourself to be fed." I think your vandal could have used similar annotation.

Dale said...

Chelene - I am so in love with you right now. Well, always really.

Once again, you live up to your name Evil Genius. I won't mention that you're actually being more of a common sense genius right now and should be sworn in immediately.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

At least you didn't need to sit down. Or maybe you did, I don't know. Actually I don't want to know, forget I mentioned it.

n.v. said...

That really IS sad. You've got to be utterly desperate to start talking to crapper walls.

n.v. said...

I had to pinch a loaf at Union a couple of years ago and was late for work as a result. Once I started the walk from Union to George Brown (it was a humid July day), I kept imagining crumbs of leftovers smearing heatedly up and down my asscrack. It slowed me down significantly.

BeckEye said...

Too bad you didn't have a marker. You could've left your advice for the guy who is sure to return. If he hasn't killed himself by now.

I've never used the bathrooms in the subway stations, but I've smelled them. They smell just like the platforms.

Mob said...

Maybe the graffiti meant he was hiding somewhere in the bathroom, or worse yet, the stall itself...

Did you take a look inside the usually empty toilet seat cover dispenser?

Danny Tagalog said...

No sympathy for this. Surely you need to do the business then flee from these awful places...

gifted typist said...

I too was in a Union Stn facilities last week.
And I too went to a stall and spotted existential graffiti on the walls.

But I did something much worse than you: I didn't care about the aloneness of the graffiti artist.
And then I left.

Chris said...

I can't believe that's still up there! Dale, go ahead and cross that out next time you're in there.

Bubs said...

That was the best writing on the topic of public bathroom stalls that I've seen in quite a while.

Coaster Punchman said...

Dale's story may have been brilliant, Bubs, but give this a try while you're at it.

Jill said...

Dale, stop writing you autobiograpy on bathroom stall!!
Between you and Tanya, we have enough talk about where the sun don't shine!!

Zed said...

Maybe you should just hold it in next time, Dale. Just sayin'.

Allison said...

Ah, that's great!

Tumuli said...

"...public bathrooms often tend toward the grotty."

True. But the graffiti sometimes yields gold.

Dale said...

Strike the question and perish the thought Barbara.

Thanks for sharing your super sweet loaf pinching anniversary story n.v. I love it when you talk dirty.

They smell like the springtime you find under a homeless man's plastic bag hat Beckeye.

Oh Christ Mob, he might have been above me doing a Spiderman routine up on the ceiling. Shudder.

I flee, therefore I'm safe Danny.

O heartless Gifted Typist, sit down right here by me.

Chris, I think I know what you meant but I'm worried now that you do want to be alone. I won't tell Megan.

Bubs, I bet you say that to all the guys who write bathroom stall posts!

That's disturbing on several levels Coaster Punchman.

Don't tempt me to tell you more than I want to Jill.

Good idea Zed, the seats on the train look pretty absorbent in case of accident.

Hello Allison. I think I should have taken a photo of it to match the art to the post like you sometimes do to such good effect.

Gold like the colour of pee Tumuli. And Tumuli - do you have any idea how much I've missed you?!

Bluez said...

"How sad, I thought. And then I thought, maybe if you didn’t spend all your time alone in a bathroom stall with a marker, you wouldn’t feel so alone, asshole."

I almost peed myself when I read that last sentence.

X. Dell said...

That's a very poignant story. It breaks my heart to think of this guy, sitting in this huge stall, and having no one to share it with.

Beth said...

I wonder if that sentence will work for me if I use it as a blog post ...

Dale said...

I'm glad my stream of thoughts brought you to that brink Bluez.

I'll leave your blog address there today when I go by X. Dell.

Pick any sentence you like Beth. For you today - free.

Johnny Yen said...

Okay, there's another reason why Canada rocks. In the United States, the average graffitist would not have the candle-power to come up with a limerick, let alone know what a limerick is. They'd most likely put a steet gang symbol or "'fill in the blank' sucks."

Jill said...

Like I need to tempt you!!

Writeprocrastinator said...

"How sad, I thought. And then I thought, maybe if you didn’t spend all your time alone in a bathroom stall with a marker, you wouldn’t feel so alone, asshole."

Dale,

I am deeply disappointed, how can you be so insensitive to Mr. Michael? Why, you'll crush his faith-a-faith-a-faith.

katrocket said...

I enjoy a good stall review, especially when they are period pieces.

pistols at dawn said...

You should commission Tommy Tutone to write a hit song based on this piece of bathroom graffiti. He could really use the money.

Is there such a thing as a classy limerick? I'd like to be the Robert Frost of limericks, but I believe all that would require would be writing the second limerick ever besides that one about the gentleman from Nantucket.

Dale said...

We're all about literate defacing of public property Johnny! And yes, we do rock.

Jill, Jill, Jill.

Poor Mr. Michael indeed Write Procrastinator. Is he still falling asleep in his car too I wonder?

You said period pieces Katrocket. You cannot spell Katrocket without rock!

Considering the intro to his site Pistols at Dawn, he does need the cash. Poor Tommy. And you must write a classy limerick to prove it can be done. Thanks.

Holly said...

Partly in honor of this post--well, that and to win a five-dollar bet--I used the men's room in a bar the other night. I was too busy hoping no one would go to the manager and say "why is there a woman in the men's room?" to notice any graffiti, but the fact of the matter is, after doing something so foolhardy, I didn't want to be alone anymore either. It was a good thing I was out with friends already--of course, they are the kind of people who would try to convince me to use a men's room, and for some reason, I let myself be the kind of person who said "Sure!"

jewgirl said...

that is so funny. hilar squared. so true. HAHAHAHA. I AM HOWLING RIGHT NOW. HOW-LING.

Dale said...

I wonder what else you'd do for five dollars Holly? Think of the blogging possibilities!

I can hear you from here Katie, howl on.

Old Lady said...

Maybe you could get yourself an extender.

Dale said...

So many ways I could go with that one Old Lady. I'll just say: yes. maybe.