The Magical Lavatory
The office I worked at a few jobs back incorporated a magical lavatory.
By “magical”, I don’t mean notable for its propensity to host moderately quirky happenstances. This thing had its own micro-climate; there was always a harp playing in the background and you could sometimes see stars and the moon where the ceiling should have been.
Two out of every three times I visited it, something extraordinary happened.
Once a colleague emerged from one of the cubicles sodden – he looked like he’d just come out of the sea. When he caught my eye, he simply pressed his lips together and raised his eyebrows as if to say “Magical lavatory – what can you do?”
There was also a time when a fellow in the first cubicle sang a soothing lullaby to the man in the second cubicle who, going by the noises he was making, had cholera. It rhymed, the meter was perfect and, to be perfectly honest, it was deeply moving.
But the greatest moment of all was when I witnessed a bloke lose control of his pendulum.
He was a flighty individual and must have feared having someone standing beside him at the urinals; that was understandable. What I had more trouble empathising with was the exclamation “Wh-wh-whoooa!” followed a furious flurry of activity during which urine passed over the top of the nearby cubicle and squirted into his own face.
It was like a small child trying to regain control of a full-bore fire hose.
As this happened, he made quiet, desperate noises registering an emotion somewhere between horror and frustration.
To conclude with a moral to this story would be preposterous in the extreme.
An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. You can read Benign to Five in those papers every Saturday.