A Place to Shit and Stink: A Love Letter to a Memory
Sydney Uni is already a maze before you consider that every building on this suburb-sized campus has a warren of an interior as well. In the mix of all the old and the new, there has to be a perfectly secluded toilet out there somewhere, right?
I’m a mature-aged student, something I’m very conscious of. I’m currently doing my second degree, so having studied before I’m very aware of how fucking annoying some left-field, “personal experience” caveat from a person who read the required text but didn’t really get it can be. I allow myself very little room to be sentimental.
I had a hell of a commute for my first degree; three buses out from the boondocks. One semester I had a tutorial that started at 9am, which meant I had to be out of bed before 6. Due to the frequency of buses, I could get on the early one and get to uni an hour early, or get on the late one and be half an hour late, so early it was. Once a week, I would head into the old Badham Ag library, now a post-grad learning hub, to catch up on some reading, and then take a shit before class.
I would head downstairs to a toilet that was my own beautiful haven. There was never a soul around, except for the occasional Ag student in from college or an old Anthropology professor who was always reading obscure texts on algal growth, so the bathroom was all mine. It was tiled like an old public pool, with sandy square tiles the size of 10c pieces from floor to ceiling. Up to the right as you walked in was a shower, again not dissimilar to one you’d see at a public pool, and in front of you were the two cubicles.
The whole space was big and roomy, and you could tell that the toilet was obscure because there wasn’t a single scrawl of graffiti, not even the old “art degrees” standard under the very traditional loo roll holder. The seat was black and solid. It was molded and curvy and felt like it was made out of bakelite. The best part though was the frosted window, which covered the whole back wall of the two cubicles. The sun in the morning would give the whole room a faint golden glow, like holy light flowing like honey through a stained glass window in a church. This was amplified by the sandy tiles. I can only imagine, as it faced west, the way it would have lit up with a flaming hue of umber and tangerine on a sunny afternoon. Those days in the morning, it was my throne.
I don’t think that toilet exists anymore with the refurbishments to Badham. I’m holding onto the hope that it might be there, bringing joy to some other lonely wayfarer.
I want to take some time, now I’m in my second degree, to explore campus and find similar toilets. It’s a new adventure, so why not find a new throne? A place to sit and think, or a place to shit and stink.