When I tell people where I work, they often ask me if I like it there.
Many people like the building that I work in. They say that it is bright, that the cubicle layout is pleasant, that it’s close to amenities and there is an excellent selection of nearby restaurants.
All of this is true. It could be a lovely place to work, except for one thing: the toilets.
I remember the first time that I used one. As far as toilets go, it seemed ordinary. I did my business as I have done my whole potty-trained life and then I stood up to leave.
That was enough to cue the demonic screams of the malevolent spirit that haunts the toilets. Think of a toilet noise. It’s kind of like a whooshing slurp. It’s not very loud and it’s over quickly. This one was different. Somewhere, mixed in with the normal noises is a screaming frequency that takes my caveman brain and rockets it past all of the other stress responses right to: “YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF BEING EATEN BY BIGFOOT AND A GIANT SQUID!” It set my heart to pounding, my vision narrowed.
It was the same every time I went back. I would visibly flinch every time that I heard the faintest hint of a toilet gurgle. They’re auto-flush toilet, too, which only increases the paranoia. (When will it flush?!?)
I have a system now, where I put my hands to my ears the second that I start hearing flush noises, which helps. But it looks ridiculous.
I kind of chide myself: what are you doing, being scared of a toilet?
And when people ask if I like the building that I work in, well it’s a hard question to answer.