Communal bathrooms suck. Being an only child, I’m not used to have other people’s problems inhabiting my living space. Finding someone else’s triple strength acne cream half squeezed out in the sink isn’t a great start to a morning. People leave their hair stuck to the shower walls and curled up in the drain like a dead muppet. Communal bathrooms are a disgusting place.
One of our stalls is by the window, which is conveniently stuck open. If you use that toilet, mooning the third floor of the neighboring building is inevitable. I pity the girls who haven’t yet figured this out.
But some of the things I’ve loosely defined as “other people’s problems” aren’t so much silly and physical as they are emotional and medical. This leads to a stressful environment. In the last 24 hours alone, I have heard three separate people vomiting, crying, and get accosted by cops.
Yesterday morning, a girl from another floor furtively entered the restroom and proceeded to upchuck whatever she had eaten for breakfast. I’ve had friends with bulimia, I know how dangerous it is. But what do you do when a complete stranger is struggling with a serious illness? It’s a strange thing to be so physically close to someone but not emotionally close enough to help them. I always see a girl on my floor on the phone crying. I know she must be homesick, but I’m not in the same space or social group, and extended comfort wouldn’t be possible for me to give.
Just today, cops were on our floor. I was sitting outside my room talking to my parents on the phone when they set a girl on the floor nearby and began questioning her. As curious as I was, I left the space, seeing as it seemed to be a private matter. I wondered if the girl had been caught drinking. It turned out she was just very ill and had to be hospitalized. Why the cops were called in I don’t know.
Everyone’s space is invaded in these situation, whether it’s me unwittingly observing other people’s problems, or other people with a complete stranger (me) uncomfortably aware of their problems. It’s not an ideal situation, and it probably will create even more interpersonal strife in the building.