Jurassic Privy


I’m fairly sure that it isn’t my fault that I walk in on people on the toilet so very often.  I’m pretty sure that they are just not educated in toilet-safety.

If I cannot in some way prevent the door from opening, I WILL NOT GO.  There will be no peaceful tinkle while the door is unlocked and waiting for an unsuspecting person to swing the door open on me.  If the stall door won’t lock, and all the other stalls are full, I will go, with at least one foot pressed up against the door, knee locked straight, wedging it shut.  It will be the tensest pee EVER.

OMG, the stall won't lock!

I will feel the same anxiety the man in Jurassic Park felt when he ran to the washroom, and the T-Rex bit the roof off the building, just before it ate him.  I will pee like I am waiting for a T-Rex to rip the door off my stall.  When the tiny little metal piece slides properly into the little metal hole, thus ‘locking’ the door… the T-Rex can’t get in, and neither can anyone else.
Do-you-think-he-saur-us?  No…I know he didn’t, because my door was locked.  A potty-saurus can’t get in if the metal toggle is in place.

There is a single-toilet women’s washroom in the engineering building at Western.  It is a very large room with a door in one corner, a toilet in another and a sink in the third corner.  You can’t reach the door from the toilet-seat.  It just isn’t possible.  The lock on the door is a bit odd, and, at first attempt (and second attempt) doesn’t seem to be able to lock.  Would I go?  Knowing that this is the only women’s washroom within a mad-dash from my class?  Knowing that I can’t lock the door and I can’t hold the door shut?  No.  I would NOT.  I played with the lock for a little while, opening the door, flicking the lock, closing the door,
repeat.  I figured out that you need to start flicking the lock, hold it at that ‘stuck’ position, and pull the door slowly open, in order to get it to lock. It’s just not quite lined up. Door locked, success, I pee in peace.  The little sign on the lock on the outside of the door switches from green ‘unoccupied’ to red ‘occupied’, people can tell without jiggling the handle that the door is locked.  Sometimes they
jiggle it anyways, damn them and their potty-T-Rex tendencies.

Does everyone else take the time to master the art of locking this door?  No.  So, using the simple ability to read ‘Unoccupied’ on a green background, I have walked in on at least FIVE people doing their business, door unlocked, unprotected from T-Rexes or other people in need of toilet time.  The most awkward of which proceeded to chat with me while I waited, a red-faced and uncomfortable Awkward-osaur, outside the washroom, while she finished her business.  I know I know you, but if you’re mid-pee, act like we’re strangers.  I will.

And it happens with stalls too – despite having the ability to literally HOLD THE DOOR CLOSED, people have failed to prevent me from walking into a tiny cubicle-of-toilet that is already occupied.  And I am not always particularly aware of my surroundings, so I have made it nearly entirely into the stall before realizing that it is occupied.  Thankfully, most people I do this to will rapidly smash a door back in my face (I’m ok with this, really I am… they have rudimentary potty-saurus-attack-prevention-skills), thus alerting me to the fact that there’s someone there, and preventing me from coming face-to-too-close-face with their toilet-sitting-selves.  What does a Triceratops sit on?  Its Tricerabottom… but I don’t want to see that!  This rampant indifference to
common washroom safety is baffling and disturbing.

I am not a potty-file… I don’t want to watch you poop, or pee, or really… BE on the toilet at all.  I’m fine with pretending that you don’t even require a toilet… that you don’t go.  I don’t want to know who is on the other side of the thin metal barrier peeing.  I just want to occupy a stall, and do my business, in peace and quiet.  It is a solo mission.  But, no matter how many times I’ve walked in on people, I’m going to assume that a stall whose door is partly cracked open, and a door whose lock says “Unoccupied” are meant to be opened by me, when I have to do my business.  I think that checking for feet is mildly creepy, and could totally be taken for something even more creepy than just “I was checking to see if someone was there”, and I don’t want to knock on each individual stall before trying to enter.  Why is no-one else as freaked out at the potential Potty-T-Rex-attack as I am?

The worst is interior camping.  I’m not a city-girl at heart – I can pee-in-the-woods with the best of them, but it does freak me out that I have no way of preventing people from happening upon me mid-business.  The backwoods that do have outhouses (literally a wooden box with a toilet seat and lid on a hole in the top of the box… zero walls around you) are the worst, because you know that everyone else knows where you’re peeing, but you have no way of indicating ‘occupied’ before they get into sight … and chanting ‘don’t come here I’m peeing, don’t come here, I’m peeing!’ is a warning to some and a potential lure to creepers.  At least, if it’s just a ‘find a good shrub to pee behind’ situation, you are unlikely to find the same shrub as someone else.  Just be careful of all 360 degrees, because nothing is so awkward as waving awkwardly from the ‘perfect’ dead log you found out of sight of your site, but not out of sight of those people canoe-ing by, 5 ft from your makeshift ‘throne’.

Not the time to shout "Don't come here, I'm hiding!"

So, if I stumble into your private moments, sitting on the porcelain throne, know that I am not a potty-saurus, but an I’msosaurus.  And use the potty-safety skills you’ve picked up in reading this post to avoid traumatizing me with your care-free toilet-sitting.

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25 Comments

  1. HAHAHAHA!! What a funny post! I’m with you – I can’t stand it when people don’t take the time to lock their stalls securely. Bathrooms are NOT social gathering places – it should be “every person to herself”! LOL Really enjoyed your post! 🙂

    • I’m glad it’s not just me! Considering how many toilet-sitting people I’ve invaded the privacy of in the past while, I was beginning to wonder if this was the new, ‘extreme’ version of ‘girls go to the washroom in packs’. I’m willing to travel with you to the washroom area, but I get my own stall, no matter how wimpy that might seem 😛

  2. LOL Lexy! I can tell from this post that you don’t have children. I was always timid and shy about that as well, until I had children. Seriously, in the hospital EVERYONE wants to look at your ‘girlie bits’ once that happens you will have no qualms about going anywhere! Once I went in a ditch on the side of the NY thru way. Which would have been bad, had I not stood up and mooned the entire toll plaza. I think that incident still comes across the CB’s every now and again.

    Once you have children you will meet the other pre-historic beast…notaminutespeaceasauras. 🙂

    • haha, nope, no children. I hope I’ll manage to keep my privacy-loving-ways in the washroom after children, at least amongst strangers and co-workers. At home, I get the impression that personal space will vanish entirely. But public washrooms… they are places for private contemplation, not public urination! 😛
      also, LOL your side-of-the-highway mooning 🙂

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours! Hilarious post! Although as a Guelph graduate I should stay away from Western blogs ;). But of course I wont!! excited to have found you

    • Guelph… hmm…. I’d say something vaguely competitive about it, but, from the intensive research of having attended Guelph’s open-house day this winter (for my sister’s search for a university), I realised that Guelph is full of the happiest (Hap-HAP-HAPPIEST!) students on earth. And I can’t say anything bad about the place I’m fairly sure must train Santa’s Elves. Even the students who were just randomly on campus, so I know it can’t just be the student volunteers whose cup-of-joy overfloweth.
      Glad to hear you’re not shunning my blog for its westernness 🙂

  4. You have mad skills, young lady! How else do you explain being able to present a post on toilet etiquette in such a cool manner?
    Well done!

  5. Sweet Jesus. This post needs to be Freshly Pressed ASAP. You hear me WordPress Powers That Be? HILARIOUS (and so awkward I felt your pain)!

    • coming from the woman whose posts have made me actually snort with laughter, that is a HUGE compliment, thanks so much!

  6. What a funny post! You’ve described some of my most anxious moments. Try finding a bathroom when you need to go in the Boston area, particularly in Cambridge. They just don’t exist. There’s actually a website you can go on that tells you where they’re located so you can plan you visit accordingly! Great post!

    • Good to know…when visiting Boston, bring toilet-map.
      I struggled in Europe, partly because my stingy nature was strongly against paying a euro or more to gain access to a place to pee. And then, after paying, we sometimes found the facilities…less than adequate… in the doors/locking/privacy department, though it was generally quite clean. I quick-marched my travelling-companions home a few times, feeling like my eyeballs were floating and turning yellow… though those times, if there’d been a place open where we could have stopped, I would have paid to go 🙂

  7. You are too funny. Everyone has different hang-ups when it comes to public toilets. I can’t believe this has happened to you so often!

    • I have a feeling that it’s a hang-up particularly because it happens so often. After all – I don’t think i’ve ever had anyone walk in on me… but since I do the walking-in-on so often, it seems that it must be a common thing 🙂

  8. Oh Lexy, thank you for the visual feast of your writing.

    Know what I hate? It is when I walk into a men’s room and there is a female attendant in there cleaning the urinals. I just don’t know what to do with myself other than to head for the safety of a stall with a door with one of those gleaming chrome slide bolts. Fred

    • that would be awkward. I would think they’d close the washroom temporarily while there was cleaning staff in there in general!

  9. Potty-file! Too funny! I have intense fear of being walked in on too. I am also absolutely sure that when we are camping everyone can see me pee!

    • 🙂 It doesn’t matter how isolated your tent site is either – or how much heavy ground-cover. It always feels like you’re squatting in the middle of a field surrounded by spectators.

  10. Ha, ha. When I first started reading I was going to suggest the foot against the door thing. What sucks in shen you can barely reach the door with your tippytoes or are an inch short. Your hope is that if someone comes along and tries to bus tthe door open that it will bounce off your outstretched toe and they will get the hint. Sometimes I even scoot closer to the end of the seat in and attemp to try and close the gap 🙂 Another thing that “works” is laying a jacket or purse strategically on the floor so it is peaking out of the stall so that the would-be-pee-er hopefully sees it and concludes that the stall is occupied.

    • If you drape your jacket over the top of the door, that also works, and it means you don’t have to worry about what else has been on the public washroom floor. I’ve definitely experienced the “just can’t reach!”… and luckily, people realise what it means when the door only opend a few inches and then bangs back into place.

  11. I couldn’t agree more!! I do have children but am still a firm believer in bathroom privacy when anywhere besides my home. And I love the Jurassic Park reference…one of my favourite books of all time. I made my book club laugh when I chose it, since I guess they didn’t think it qualified as “literature” – but you have pointed out once again that it has plenty to teach us!

    • Jurrasic Park = washroom safety pamphlet 🙂
      And an excellent choice for a book club!

  12. Bahahaha! This post is hilarious! And has singularly justified my assigning the 7 Links thing to you! Good stuff!

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