Boy I must be a little more spaced-out than usual this afternoon. Because I just did something really stupid that could have gotten me in a lot of trouble.
I had to go to the bathroom, so I went into this building on the Berkeley campus and I walked around in the halls for awhile until I spotted a restroom. So I darted in there and I darted into the stall. And I’m sitting there like I had done thousands of times before. When I noticed this little garbage bin on the floor of the stall. That struck me as odd because in all these years I had never seen a garbage bin on the floor of a restroom stall before. But I didn’t think much more about. Though that was my first inkling that perhaps all was not right in the world of Backwords.
But the more I sat there, and the more I looked at that little bin, the odder it seemed. So on a hunch I opened up the door of the stall and took a quick look around the restroom. And the first thing I noticed was that there were no urinals in the restroom. Using my razor-sharp powers of deductive reasoning I instantly concluded that I was most definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So I pulled my pants on and got my ass (literally) out of there as fast as I could. And fortunately there was nobody loitering around in the hallway as I made my grand exit. Because that could have been big trouble for yours truly. I would have had some explaining to do.
On the other hand if the UC cops had busted me for being a pervert I could have claimed I was a transgender and sued the University for sexual discrimination and mental duress, and maybe I would have even won a big cash settlement. Though I probably would have had to walk around for several months wearing a dress and lipstick if I really wanted to make my case.
As a regular user of public restrooms I probably know more about the bathroom habits of humanity than most people would ever want to know. For example:
There’s a type of public restroom-user that I call “campers.” People who camp out in the restroom stalls for unusually long times. In this particularly restroom on the Berkeley campus there is one guy who is constantly camped out in the same stall. Practically every day. Sometimes for hours.
Naturally, I couldn’t help wondering what he DOES in there. Is he masturbating to internet porn on his cellphone? Is he pounding 40s of malt liquor? Is he doing drugs? Or has it gotten so hideously-congested in the Bay Area that a toilet stall is the only place where he can get a little privacy and four-walls to himself?
So today I finally figured out the mystery of it all. I go in there and the stall is empty (for once). So I go in the stall, and I reach in to grab one of the toilet seat covers, but it jams in the dispenser and rips in half every time I try to pull one out. So I reached into the dispenser to see what was jamming things up. And there’s about a dozen different sections of the local newspaper jammed in there, all folded up to the crossword puzzle, most of which are half-done.
So that explained it. The guy sits there in the toilet stall hour after hour working on the crossword puzzles.
And I figured, he probably works for the University, as a janitor or groundskeeper. And he hides in the stall so the boss won’t know he’s goofing off.
I would have made a good private investigator. I’m always sticking my nose into other people’s business.
I got in another ugly confrontation with the Serial Flusher a couple days ago. I got in his face and said: “HEY DUDE IF YOU DO THAT TOILET FLUSHING THING ONE MORE TIME I WILL FUCK YOU UP!!” (I’m well known for my subtlety of expression)
He stared back at me with this blank expression on his dim-wit mug. And he kept repeating in this high-pitched squealing voice: “How ya doin’? How ya doin’? What’s your name? What’s your name?” (did I mention he’s completely nuts?)
I’m generally in a bad mood in the morning (waking up to 300 hangovers a year will do that to a guy). And I’m ESPECIALLY in a bad mood when I’m sitting in a stall of a public restroom trying to take my morning shit in peace and quiet. And all of a sudden there’s this EXPLOSION of water-flushing sounds. This cascading cacophony of water. As this lunatic frolics from toilet to toilet to urinal to urinal. Flushing every one of them. Over and over and over. All the while letting out this high-pitched giggle of excited lunatic laughter to let you know he is really getting his jollies from the whole toilet-flushing experience.
Needless to say. The dude’s a little peculiar.
So now it’s a couple days later. And I’m waiting to see how the Serial Flusher reacts to my angry outburst. Over the years I’ve been in more than my fair share of these kind of ugly confrontations (it’s one of the unfortunate bi-products of life on the street scene). And usually, about 90% of the time, the other person wisely realizes that it is in his best self-interests to avoid all further contact with that Ace Backwords fellow for the foreseeable future. But, unfortunately, 10% of the time they turn into these on-going wars that can last for months and even years. Which I dread. Because it drains a lot of my energy. And it sours the quality of my daily life, never knowing if I might get jumped by some nut at any given moment.
The problem with dealing with the Serial Flusher is two-fold. 1.) He’ a big, burly guy. So he can do some damage. And 2.) He’s completely nuts. So it’s impossible to predict how he’ll react. It’s difficult to gauge the logic of a man who’s biggest thrill in life is to flush toilets over and over, day after day, for decades at a stretch.
So now I’m waiting to see how this plays out. The Serial Flusher has basically been living on the Berkeley campus for the last ten years. He mostly sits by himself all day, staring off into space, making these contorted expressions on his face, and emitting these high-pitched, squealing animal sounds under his breath. In all these years I’ve never seen him talk to another person. He’s blandly normal-looking on the surface. So mostly nobody even notices him. Since he almost never actually does anything. It’s weird how some people can blend into the crowd, no matter how nutty they are. And he usually restricts his toilet-flushing parties to off-hours of the day when almost nobody else is around.