Sign of the Times

Have you ever seen this sign before?


I’m sure you have. Being one of the few worldwide recognized signs it speaks a lot and in many languages. But this sign speaks EVEN MORE depending on its location and nowhere does it speak more than when it is located on a bathroom door.

Put this sign on a bathroom door and people will instantly know a lot about the stall inside. The stall will be vast, larger than some college students first apartments. It will have a tall and wide toilet and handles along the walls.

And this is a great thing. The people that have to use these stalls need to know that they will be able to use them. Just like on parking spaces or accessible entry ways this instantly tells anyone who needs it that they will be able to with relative ease.

But what about the rest of us? No two stalls are made the same, except for the stalls that are made exactly the same, and most are as varied as the people who use them and getting a stall that’s right for you is a real crap shoot.

In that vein, I have come up with a few ideas to describe what could be awaiting you on the other side of that door. Let’s see what’s first.


Ahh yes, we’ve all been there, rushing to make it to the bathroom after a large spicy meal, we head into the first empty stall (or the one at the end, depending on our personality), we go to close and lock it and… nothing. Whether there is no lock, broken lock, or a lock that seems like it was designed by some bathroom sadist who just likes to prank people the door won’t stay shut on it’s own. Stretching out as far as you can you put your foot on the door so that if someone goes to try to open a closed stall door (We know they will at the worst time) they will be met with some amount of resistance and hopefully move on so you can continue being nervous someone else will barrel there way into your tiny world.


Why are there short toilets in places where there are never children? Work in a warehouse with dangerous machines and rules about anyone under a certain age stepping foot inside? Well chances are you still have a toilet made for a 2 year old and you will inevitably find it at the worst possible time.


In my mind, this is the second worst stall you could end up with, the dreaded small stall. The small stall is much like the opposite of the Tardis. It looks normal on the outside, and all the other stalls that are the same size have plenty of room, but somehow this stall is 1/4 the size on the inside. Breaking the laws of physics and forcing you to practice yoga moves you didn’t think possible just to get the door closed. Broken locks are no worries here because your knees are already touching the door. Good luck getting out of this one without dislocating a shoulder or two.


And last we have the worst of the worst. Everything seems fine sitting down inside this stall. The toilet is at a nice height, there’s a decent amount of room, and the lock snaps closed in a reassuring metallic clunk. You have a temporary safe haven to perform your duties.

But wait, what’s this? Some daft engineer has miscalculated the size of the door with the width it had to cover and there is a veritable cavern in between it and the stall support beams. You know everyone who comes in will be peering in to see what you’re doing. This has nothing to do with paranoia, this is fact. You know they will be looking in because you are staring out of this vast window to see how much you can see. Cave entrances have nothing on this gap and you will not be able to do anything comfortably if you hear someone else walk into the bathroom.

So these are 4 of the worst I have encountered, what are the worst stalls you’ve been in. Keep it ‘clean’ and discuss.


10 thoughts on “Sign of the Times

  1. Maryanne

    This was hilarious! The worst, for me, was when I was a teenager traveling across the country in 1979. It was the middle of summer and super hot. I had to go to the bathroom and we stopped at a gas station in Texas. The toilet was a wooden potty, worse than any Port-a-John I’ve ever seen in my life. I decided to hold it in, I couldn’t possibly use that.

    Also, many nightclubs in NYC in the 1980s and 1990s. I’m sure you heard about CBGBs 🙂

    1. Good Geek Ranting Post author

      I agree that I’ve also had wise experiences at regular restrooms than port a johns. Beyond the smell and breeze they typically aren’t that bad. Well, I try to sound them at rowdy concerts lol

      1. Tutti

        That was truely a little adventure. I was in London for a nice little weekend trip. Strange country, strange language. It was Saturday afternoon. I had a coffe in a little natural food store. The sales assistant already cleared up to close. The toiletts were a long way down in the basement. The toilet had solid brickwalls from the floor to the ceiling. The tiny window was a narrow gap + bars and showed back into a dark abandoned inner patio. Well I’m shure you understand that I was a little despaired when the door didn’t open again. First I rattled at the door, than shout loud and felt senseless embarresd because nobody heard me at all.
        Than tried to phone, who can you call in a strange city? But anyway had no receive in the basement. Already thought I must spend the weekend there, when salesgirl found me. Do you know that eco-style-dudes? She said very relaxed” Oh, you really can be glad that I found you. Was just on my way home. Well, you must know we had this case before. This doorlock james sometimes…..” 🙂

        1. Good Geek Ranting Post author

          This is the best bathroom story ever. Appreciate your sharing it. And you’re in Germany! I’m humbled by my German readers, I’m like Hasselhoff over here. 🙂

          I can say I’ve had some embarrassing moments though luckily never trapped in. That would have made a horrible weekend if she hadn’t come down to look.


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