Usually, public restroom stalls are relatively grimy havens away from the hustle and bustle of the world outside. They are a refuge of relaxation, complete with laminate partitions and just enough toilet paper.
You, however, live in Berkeley, where exhibition is applauded and normalcy is shunned. So why should bathroom stalls fall privy to society’s vapid expectations? Not even a lavatory can escape the opinionated, eccentric, unapologetic culture of this colorful place we call Cal.
This is why, in almost every restroom on campus, you’ll find the stall panels covered in a mural of quotes, poems, drawings and treatises. Potty time suddenly becomes a place for inquiry and argument, and almost every personality under the sun has put in her two cents with the help of a fine-point Sharpie. Finding it hard to navigate all those scribbles? Here, we break the bathroom graffiti personalities down for you into eight categories.
1. The vocal vegan
We hear you, kaleidoscope quinoa hippie, “dairy-producing animals don’t live under the best conditions,” and “there is a quite a lot of carbon dioxide emitted through beef production.” Nonetheless, tri-tip sandwiches at Brazil Cafe are an essential part of any well-rounded college student’s diet, and giving up Yogurt Park sounds like a punishment straight out of Alcatraz. What we all really want to know, Dwinelle-bathroom vegan-advocate, is how exactly do vegans “poop it better?”
2. The misanthrope
It really stinks that you’re having a hard time in college. We spotted your shaky handwriting immediately. But bathroom stalls are just not the proper place to display all that angst — we have Facebook statuses for that. Whether you have it out for the administration, a particular ethnic group or just people in general, please don’t smear that negativity on with permanent marker.
3. The crazy ex
Maybe your ex stopped answering your texts, cheated or dished out the classic and vague “this just isn’t working.” Whatever it was, move on. You’re not going to win Justin back by vandalizing the McCone Hall women’s facilities. Crying in the bathroom stall is reserved for Moaning Myrtle.
4. The compulsive quoter
Major props to those who can whip out Shakespeare quotes like nobody’s business — glad to know you never leave your apartment without that sonnet book in hand. We appreciate the mysterious, sagacious verse … even if we only pretend to understand what it means.
5. The aspiring artist
Hey, you have to start somewhere, right? Although we highly doubt that Michelangelo drafted the Sistine Chapel ceiling in a latrine, it’s refreshing to see a budding young artist take a stab at illustration, although we do wonder, how long were you on that toilet?
6. The LGBTQ activist
Berkeley is definitely a pro-sexual-freedom community. We advocate free love. We support accepting yourself. We literally shove condoms in your face any chance we get. Hoorah for LGBPTTQQIIAA! But come on — if there are discriminators sitting on the throne, their psyches are unlikely to be drastically altered by viewing your bathroom graffiti. Save it for a forum where students will take interest, such as Oscar Wilde bake sales and QSA beach parties.
7. The budding philosopher
At first glance, this pensive contributor’s musings are mildly annoying. But after a while, the weight of the question sinks in, and you end up missing the first 10 minutes of class because you are stuck in the bathroom stall trying to figure out a laconic riddle written in faded black ink.
8. The merry misspeller
You would think this writer’s statements would lose their charm with those misplaced consonants, but no, they only become all the more genuine and all the more cute. Yay for lyfe!
Contact Daniela Grinblatt at [email protected]