(See part 1 if you’re confused)
I’m not picky about chairs, but I am picky about toilets, and some details matter a lot, like seat heights. I need my feet flat on the floor, but not too low. I can’t fault toilet makers for people being different heights, but I can’t blame anyone else about seats that are too high or too low.
Low seats put me too close to the floor. They remind me of crouching over a hole in the ground. That’s no way to live. And you don’t see them coming. I’ll turn to sit, slowly controlling the descent of my butt. I’ll pass my comfort angle, and anxiety sets me. My knees carefully bend inwards, each degree making me more and more nervous that I won’t find the seat, that I’ll tumble straight into the bowl. Relief when I finally get to a (hopefully) cold seat is quickly overcome, however, by dissatisfaction.
High seats can be just as bad. Sometimes, getting it done can be hard work, requiring focus of both mind and body. This focus, in turn, requires complete stability of both mind and body. When my feet are dangling, I have no stability. I’m helpless. Tippy toes are worse for the false sense of security. The ground is a comfort until you need the extra focus, and when you go for it, your toes are no longer there. You’re suddenly only supported by the only part of your body that is doing any work. Not good times.
I have high hopes for the 1st floor Gates Computer Science Building men’s room before dinner this evening. Judging by the ratio in my Computer Science classes, the last men’s stall on the top floor of Gates must be used twice as much as any of the women’s bathrooms. Given the hours and diet of grad students, I imagine that I’ll hit one of the most frequented locations around.
I arrive to a quiet bathroom. All of the stall doors is open. The first stall isn’t properly flushed. The second one has something leftover on the seat, and same for the third. Instead of finding the locals, I find their remains. I consider my options, go back to the first stall, deftly kick the handle, then begin.
I finish up pretty quickly, but I can’t be done. I might have walked in their footsteps, but I haven’t met anyone who calls this place home. The toilet and urinals aren’t notable, and I need something to come away with, something to make my trip worthwhile. Daily in hand, I can wait. I read through the sports articles first, then flip over to the classifieds without an interruption. I read the rest of the front page article and even skim the op-eds I don’t like. I fold out the crease, looking for something fresh, but I’m bored. I consider dropping the Daily and pulling out another newspaper out of my backpack, but with my primary task done, I feel trapped, not patient. I pack up and leave, empty-handed, a little down, but very relieved to have gotten out.