Between us, there are four toilet cubicles. Four. Three normal ones, and one absolutely cavernous disabled-access one. (Seriously, it’s astonishingly huge – it’s like taking a dump in the middle of an abandoned aircraft hangar. What wheelchairs do they think are rolling in there? Even a tank could successfully execute a three-point turn in that bad boy.) Two of the cubicles are on the ground floor, and the other two on the second. They’ve also installed a shower in an old cleaning cupboard, too, but I guess that’s a different issue.
Credit where credit’s due, though, they do clean the toilets. In fact, they fucking love cleaning them. They do it, like, three or four times a day. They’re so proud of how much cleaning they do in them, they write it down on a little chart that they’ve Blu-Tacked to the wall.
The problem with this situation is, if you time it badly, ‘having a brown sit down’ can be impossible in this building. Because there are only four cubicles, and most of the cleaners are women, they have to close the bathroom they’re working on while they’re doing so. Which leaves two out of action.
I work on the first floor. So let’s say I choose to go down two flights of stairs to the cubicles on the ground floor and find they’re closed for cleaning. I then have to go back up those two flights of stairs and then climb an extra two flights to get to the second floor, to the only two cubicles now available.
But hang on, there’s those 80 other blokes in the building, too. So it’s unavoidable, really, that there are going to be at least two other guys who’ve had the same idea at the same time. There always is. Yep, in the instance that the ground floor toilets are closed for cleaning, the second floor cubicles are ALWAYS occupied.
So back downstairs it is, and, because you don’t want to have a wasted trip and return to your desk still carrying the load only to have to leave again a few minutes later to attempt to do it all over again, it crosses your mind that the cleaners might have finished on the ground floor. So you try it. You risk going down four flights of stairs to check it out.
Are they still cleaning in there? Of course they are.
So now there’s a choice: traipse back up two flights of stairs to sit uncomfortably at your desk, or stumble up the full four, once again, to hope someone’s finished their business on the second floor so you can finally sit on a – now freshly warmed – seat and get rid of what you’re packing.
Oh, and I haven’t yet mentioned all the doors. There are doors ABSOLUTELY FUCKING EVERYWHERE. Some push open, some require a firm twist of a knob and some won’t let you through unless you have your staff pass to swipe on the scanner-thingy.
If it’s just you, it’s bad enough, but all of this madness is exacerbated when more than one person is attempting to find a cubicle at the same time. You cross each other on the stairs; you swipe each other through doors; you exchange panicked glances under the pressure. You feel their pain and yet you’re in direct competition with them for a place on the first throne that becomes available.
Yep, trying to have a poo at my work is like being a contestant on the fucking Crystal Maze – a frantic race against time that involves the opening and going through of endless amounts of doors. In fact, the only difference between trying to have a poo at my work and the Crystal Maze is that if you were successful on the Crystal Maze, you’d get rewarded with a pile of shit prizes to go home with. You’re not even guaranteed a pile of shit at the end of this game.