I walked into the Life Building with a mission. My mission has two steps. First I will enter a washroom, and then the second step is quite simple: stay there until I am told to leave. If any of you ever plan to spend an indeterminate amount of time stuck in the washroom, I’d recommend stocking up. I, of course, came prepared. I brought pretty much all of my homework, a book in case the wifi cut out, multiple movies downloaded on Netflix and band-aids, just in case.
I have spent the past hour in the largest stall I could find in the Life Building, fully clothed, doing absolutely nothing. Over the years petty vandals left the walls scratched up. I’ve been spending my time sitting down, earphones in, doing WeBWork. This is no different from my dorm. The green and red WeBWork answer feedback is the only colour in this room.
I used to go to the old SUB as a kid. I’d get some candy from the convenience store and look at all the posters towering over me. It feels more spacious now. The dirty brown tiles are now clean white linoleum, the washroom is tidy, the dim lights have been replaced by modern-looking fluorescent tubes. It feels like Queer Eye did an episode on the Life Building.
Someone just knocked on my door. After a second I blurted out a “hello?” He said “okay” and left. Trash bags are rustling. This article is stopping the stall from getting cleaned out.
The room only has four white walls, a sink, a toilet, and me, slowly losing it. I miss the old Life Building. Maybe it is just nostalgia talking, but I love the old SUB. It was a little dingy but had character.
Every day I walk past these new buildings with giant windows and expensive chairs. Buchanan, IKB, Henry Angus. I go from one welcoming genteel place to another, and then I go home to the world's smallest dorm to feel bad about the $2 I spent to put guacamole on my burrito. I have seen a hundred elegant aerial shots of our campus. I feel like an idiot for complaining about it, but they all just feel sterile when viewed from this toilet.
I am reading an article about the harm caused by solitary confinement. This washroom isn’t that bad.
The life building is closed. I can hear a voice in the washroom but I can’t make out the words. Everything else is muted. If I can remain unnoticed after they are done closing I should be in the clear.
My nose is very irritated but there are no mirrors for me to see what is happening. I tried to pour water on my nose but ended up spilling water all over myself.
If you look up real close to the metal pipe connected to each toilet you’ll notice it’s shiny enough for it to function as a makeshift mirror. In other news, I now have visual proof that my nose is getting quite irritated.
It is unlikely I will get kicked out at this point. After the fifth hour in the washroom, you can just relax and think. Is there a good reason for me to be here? Does my back normally hurt this much? Is this even real journalism? The answer to all of these questions is no, of course not.
After an uneventful two hours, I hear sniffling noises and some movement, leading up to a flush. I’m a little scared as a knock comes on my door. The building has been closed for exactly two hours. I said, “Hello?”
“Building’s closed now.”
I offered an “oh okay” to him, weakly trying to play it all off as a silly accident. I packed up my stuff and left. I never even saw his face. After six poky hours, fourteen muffled sneezes and eight accidental motion-triggered toilet flushes, I can go home.
I got locked out of my dorm. When I went to the front desk for help, I could hear a whisper of “Panda” by Desiigner playing across the counter.
I went into writing this hoping to have something to say, but I’ve come to accept the silliness of all of this. There is no point to this. All I learned on this hellish night is that, no matter what, the lights stay on in the Life Building.