The 5th floor bathroom
Gideon enjoyed the atmosphere of the 5th floor bathroom. It was cool, well lit and always clean owing to the fact that the office on the 5th floor was unoccupied. This meant he could while away precious minutes in seeing to his ablutions uninterrupted.
He contrasted this to the first floor bathrooms, the ones next to, and designated for, his office. There were people constantly tooing and froing in those stalls, meaning he couldn’t watch videos on his phone without headphones, and try as he might, he always felt guilty that he was occupying space that might have been better utilised by someone in dire need.
He had discovered these bathrooms by accident, when the bathrooms on the first floor were being redecorated. He had had a particularly quiet morning, so took the opportunity to explore upwards in the building, deciding to enter the 5th floor restrooms because here the men’s loos were on the other side of the stairwell to all the others floors, meaning they had windows that looked out onto the courtyard below, with pleasant streams of sunlight reflecting off the porcelain.
This anomaly had intrigued him at first, but his subsequent visits to the bathrooms on the fifth floor were attributable to his realisation that he could waste at least 15 minutes of the day in walking from his desk, to the bathroom and back again, all in the name of “simply going to the loo” which, after all, he was perfectly entitled to do.
He had of course had to make do with the loos on the fourth floor when they were redecorating the fifth floor bathrooms, an experience which had not sat pleasantly with him. These loos lacked the windows of the floor above, so were dark and had no proper source of ventilation. In addition to this, the glue they had used to stick down the new mock-wood finish on the doors to the cubicles had made him feel distinctly nauseous.
Today, however, he was returning to the fifth floor. So excited was he by the prospect that he had left his phone at his desk, so that he might fully savour the experience undistracted. He breathed in the fresh air of this windowed bathroom deeply, rejoicing at the absence of that toxic smelling glue.
He strolled gaily to his favourite cubicle, and after a small battle with the lock which struggled to fit following the new mock-wood finish that had been set around it, he sat down with peace in his mind and joy in his heart.
He sat there dreamily for what felt like hours and, having decided it had been enough time, stood up to leave, only to discover the new mock-wood finish had jammed the lock and he was unable to open the door.