An Open Letter from a Locked Bathroom

To the Patrons of Starbucks and the Public At Large:

If the door is locked, please consider this space sufficiently occupied. There is no need to knock. Your present inability to gain entry makes this abundantly clear, and in accordance with the lock inventor’s entrepreneurial vision.

My new and fashionably faded jeans are around my ankles. I am pleasantly engaged in some light reading, word search or tennis league scheduling while other background processes are taking place involving last night’s bok choy/seaweed stir fry (it was deelish … and fibrous). These borrowed walls are my present safe space. I need relative quiet, I require the illusion that I am the sole being left in existence for the next 7 minutes and that the toilet seat is cleaner than it actually is. I convince myself that my gender is united behind the seemingly cosmic truth that the seat is not something to be peed on, but to upturn when one assumes the standing position. Those wet spots discovered upon initial inspection were simply backsplash from the last flush, nothing more. I can live with that. 

You, unwanted visitor, have shattered this fabricated sense of peace, you have trespassed upon this Fortress of Solitude I have pained to conjure. I have no intention of announcing to you my presence or conversing in some light banter regarding my present status. The handle turn/knock/turn triad will not prove more effective in gaining said entry, or in loosening my tongue, as if your first two tries were somehow in error. It will, however, provide you further delay in meeting your own needs because instead of focusing on mission success, I turn to contemplating how I can most effectively and enjoyably make you suffer as my sphincter involuntarily coils down.

Admittedly, I may have some understanding of your intentions. I do, in fact, empathize with your fears. I bear the mental scars of successful knob turns when, upon entry, I was met by the startled gaze of a squatted elderly woman whose children had failed to expose her to the latest in push button locking technologies. I have rightly pushed through to find children busily trying to riddle the complexities of pant button release. These are the brood of parents who bought them sneakers with velcro fasteners for fear they might lack the intellect required to be successful lace tiers. They were right to do so.

Just last week an unfastened entrance opened to a lovely young college-aged women dispensing her fluids. She offered a swift and shocked apology as the color fell from her face. I had not requested it but accepted it nonetheless and gently pulled the door closed. I gathered my laptop from the table and on my hurried way out uttered a mental prayer that a humanitarian crisis or tax evasion charges might pull her from this country so that I might never accidentally walk into her. I have not returned to that cafe since. Something tells me she has not either.

But despite the harm suffered during these foul restroom encounters, I refuse to abandon the simple logic that a lock is in fact a lock, a physical sign of intention, a tool provided to a species with opposable thumbs to prevent others passage when one is dropping a deuce.

So please, try the knob. Then walk …. the fuck … away.

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