2nd Floor

March 08, 2013

David Bjel­land wrote this almost a year ago, but since I’m a terri­ble person, I am just getting around to post­ing it. Also, if you want to see your own bath­room review up on this site 10-12 months after you sent it in, send it to uwbath­

You may not real­ize it yet, but you might have a legit­i­mate reason to use the facil­i­ties in the Commu­ni­ca­tions build­ing. Now, chances are, if you’re not at this very moment skim­ming gigan­tic, black and white photo­copied pack­ets about “glob­al­ism” or figur­ing out how to use Prezi just because it’s not Power­point, then you are most likely not a Commu­ni­ca­tions major. Take a quick break to pat your­self on the back. Good.

Now, the Comm build­ing is not your home, but like me, you may have found your­self here for a math lecture, strug­gling to take notes in your 8.5/11-ish note­books on desks appar­ently intended for 6/8-ish diaries. Perhaps, in trying to print MatLab plots for another applied math class, you have used the ICL in the base­ment, a floor with all the charm and intu­itive layout of an aban­doned ware­house. Final­ly, for those of you still using the postal service, there’s the copy center / impro­vised post office further along the deso­late underground hallway.

But there’s more — imag­ine the plight of McMa­hon hall resi­dents, more or less kitty corner to the Comm Castle. You could find that your latrine is up for routine clean­ing by the jani­to­r­ial staff at the most inop­por­tune time. Or maybe it’s prime potty time in your clus­ter — no one wants their pleas­ant teeth-brush­ing and chat­ting and show­er­ing and towel-s­nap­ping party broken up by the cacoph­ony of some­one’s diges­tive system, and more­over, you don’t want to be that person. So? The less-than-sound­proof ground floor restrooms are located right next to the exit from the dining hall. A little further than that but closer than Comm is Clark Hall, home of the campus’ ROTC detach­ments, but if you’re a long-haired male or “fad-ish” haired female, you’re sure to earn plenty of stern, “We don’t serve yer kind in these here parts” glare and possi­bly frisked (they’ve had some histo­ry, you see).

So, the Comm build­ing is start­ing to look like a pretty good option. I arrive with­out fanfare between classes and decide to check out the 2nd floor men’s room, which has the honor of being one of very few bath­rooms on campus with show­er­ing facil­i­ties. An eye-grab­bing poster on the bulletin board in front of the stairs reads, perhaps prophet­i­cal­ly, “Get out!” Turns out they meant study abroad, but maybe I should have gone with my first impression.

Turns out the locker room I envi­sioned looks as much like a cramped and grimy nook of a restroom as the next one. I am puzzled at the lack of the “uni­sex” shower adver­tised on the door — a closer exam­i­na­tion reveals that its entrance is carved out of the side of the only stall. Carved may be too kind a word — it looks like the Kool-Aid man might have jumped through here decades ago in some kind of Dada-ist prank on a hapless, poop­ing student. I ponder the para­dox of having a unisex shower that requires pass­ing through (and having a constant view of) the stall of a report­edly “male” bath­room, and inevitably imag­ine one of those rib-tick­ling Freaks and Geeks teen nudity / dramatic irony gags taking place here (Edi­tor’s note: the contrib­u­tor has never seen even one full episode of Freaks and Geeks). I hope dearly that this wasn’t all designed by one of our own civie engineers.

As I stat­ed, there is a single stall, with a single urinal, as well as two sinks. The windows have the good taste to not let light in, but if opened, seem to offer the possi­bil­ity of escap­ing through into the near­est tree with a calcu­lated jump, should that become necessary.

Enter­ing the stall, I find that the right side of the toilet seat has been some­how chipped into what looks like a jagged incisor. In conjunc­tion with the other inward­ly-point­ing edge of the seat, [trig­ger warn­ing: arachno­pho­bia] it creates the distinct impres­sion of a spider’s fangs; the undam­aged left side of the seat being the firmer, grip­pier fang that impales its prey by crush­ing it into the pointy edge of the right fang. Having come so close to relief, I nearly soil myself on the spot from the horror of the image. Still, in the name of jour­nal­ism, I trek onwards.

Now seat­ed, I find that having a jagged toilet seat stick­ing into your tush is not nearly as uncom­fort­able as you might imag­ine. The image of spider fangs still haunts me until I imag­ine the vindic­tive thrill of actual poop­ing into a spider’s mouth. Take that, you #&am­p;*$ed-up abom­i­na­tion of nature. Although, I guess spiders eat bugs and shit too, so it prob­a­bly does­n’t even care. Still, it’s the spirit of it.

The toilet paper (translu­cent as ever, but that’s another rant for another blog) resists reach with­out contort­ing one’s wrist to a flam­boy­ant angle, but the expe­ri­ence is other­wise pain­less enough. I take a moment to reflect on my surround­ings — the show­er, caked with soap-s­cum; the “Pump it up, Ben Dover” carv­ing — and finish up, prepar­ing to take my leave. The hand soap dispenser pumps out just the right amount of anti­sep­tic foam. Well, you know what they say about the impor­tance of last impressions.

Need­less to say, I was over­all unim­pressed — we’re not talk­ing the suppos­i­tory scene in Trainspotting bad, but defi­nitely less than you’d expect at a place you could be paying ~40k to be. There is some redeem­ing value, though, in the escape hatch. 1.5 out of 5 useless Comm degrees.



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