Skip to the Loo My Darling

The bus I ride to and from work comes equipped with a lavatory. It’s in the back of the vehicle just behind where I usually sit. It’s not the reason I choose to sit in the back of the bus. I just like it there because I feel more comfortable when there is no one behind me. This is also the reason I don’t like standing in the middle of a room at parties.

I suppose if I wanted to make absolutely sure no one was sitting behind me, I could spend the entire ride in the lavatory. Though that might get the other passengers talking about me. I would like to avoid that if possible. I know I’m a weird guy, but I’d like to think I hide it well.

The lavatory gets a small to moderate amount of use. Veteran users are able to get in, do their business, and get out with much fuss. First timers, on the other hand, often have problems working the door, which slides to the side rather than opening inward or outward. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out, but having a full bladder or cocoa cavern can be mentally distracting.

If the person can’t get the door open within about five to ten seconds, I’ll give an unsolicited suggestion to slide it sideways. This usually earns me an uncomfortable thank you, which is fine. It’s an uncomfortable moment. If you’re over the age of three, a trip to the bathroom is something you are supposed to do unassisted.

I myself have used the lavatory on several occasions. It’s pretty basic in there. There is no sink to wash your hands, but it is clean so you’re not horrified at the prospect of sitting down. This is good because you are supposed to sit down even if you’re male popping in to take a leak. The international-restroom pictogram on the wall is very clear on that point.

Some MRAs might get their misandry-aware Underoos in a bunch over this rule, but it does make sense. A moving vehicle can bounce around a lot, but your urine stream shouldn’t have to. As long as everybody sits down, it won’t be disgusting for anybody. There may come a day when some douchebag, probably in marketing, decides to wipe his ass with the social contract and piss all over everything, but until that day comes the lavatory will remain part of the civilized world.

Well, that is as far as I know. One assumption we make when we go to the bathroom is that we are afforded some level of privacy. The expectation is that you can do jazz hands and make funny faces and no one will know about it but you. But what if that isn’t true? The technology certainly exists to have a wireless video pick up and transmit your every move, quite possibly to another passenger on the bus.

But who would want to watch such a thing? On one level, pretty much everybody. Back in the mid 90s when the Web was new and full of joy, some pranksters decided to take the idea of the coffee-pot cam and run with it. This cam, as you may recall, was set up so people in their cubicles could see when the pot was empty. Streaming video would have used too much bandwidth so a still image was captured periodically instead. What these pranksters did was put up a toilet cam for all the world to see. Only it wasn’t a toilet cam. It was a single picture put on a web page and never updated. They then sat back and watched their web traffic go through the roof. I’m sure there were people out there who spent an entire afternoon reloading that page.

Casual voyeurism is one thing. Actively violating someone’s privacy is quite another. If someone were to install a hidden video camera in the can, what kind of person would do it? If we judge by those who were caught doing this or similar activity, there is definitely a type: a male, unattractive, socially awkward sad sack who doesn’t entirely grasp he’s done anything wrong.

But what about the ones who get away with it? They have to exist.  What are they like?  One thing is for sure. If a device is found and investigators start trying to find the perp, they’re not going to be looking for a six-foot, blonde female triathlete with Ivy League credentials and a Pepsodent smile.

OK, maybe that description has more to do with my villainess fantasies than with any bearing on reality. I don’t know. Then again, no one does. Those who never get caught are by nature creatures of mystery and wonder.

This is all hypothetical anyway. I have no reason to believe there is or ever has been any kind of hidden camera in the lavatory. It’s hard to be 100% sure though. Maybe it’s well hidden or maybe it’s hiding in plain sight. I might not even notice. When I’m in there, I tend to stare at the door, paranoid that the lock might not work. Maybe all I need to do is look up to see a camera staring down at me, its origin and purpose as unknowable as God.

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