As I stepped onto the marble stage, I found it quite odd to think that the simple act of evacuating my bladder might become prime material for the watching. Yet, that’s exactly what it’s like. On the 7th floor, where my company’s office is located, there is a men’s room. In that men’s room there is a marble stage, and on that marble stage, there are two glorious urinals. It’s a great show if you’re ever out this way, although the venue is quite cramped and I’m not much of a performer myself. At times, my bladder has been known to develop a sudden case of stage fright, causing the show to end early with disappointed guests who then sulk over the future lonely minutes they’ll spend at their own urinals.
If having your bladder elevated a half-inch off the ground on a slab of marble was a spectacle in demand, I’d never know about it. During my time as a one-man show in Japan’s most uneventful restroom, I’ve only ever had one spectator—and I’ve never even seen him. Most days, I find him hiding in the stall against the back corner wall, wading far out into the minutes of a prolonged bathroom break on the verge of becoming suspect. Bosses tend to pick up on these things, so I could tell this guy was pretty desperate. The modern world has encroached so much on our humanity, that now, even the sanctity once provided by the restroom is no longer honored or guaranteed.
My phantom spectator has never revealed his face, but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking that we share a common root of motivation. I like to think that we’ re in this thing together—not for the obvious reasons, but rather, for the solace. The restroom is one of the last few places you can truly take a break from work; from life; and, I guess, I’m just glad to find I’m not the only one who knows it.