If you follow me on Twitter you know that a lot of idiotic stuff goes on in my dorm, but I think that what happened yesterday was the greatest fail so far.
To provide some background, I share a bathroom with the other women on my hall. There are two shower stalls (not enough for the number of people they serve, but that’s beside the point) set up in a similar fashion to the toilets. There’s a divider that doesn’t go all the way to the floor or ceiling, the showers share a floor, and the water drains down to a (pretty gross) trough outside the stall. Though usable, the showers are not a pleasant place to be, filled as they are with soap scum, questionable stains, and other people’s hair. There’s not a bench to sit on or any place to put your things, which have to go in the floor. Like a McDonald’s, the International Hall bathrooms are designed to encourage an in-out mentality.
One stall was occupied when I went to the shower yesterday, so I stepped into the empty one. And the first thing that I saw was a huge paperback resting precariously on top of the divider. The weirdo person next door took the book down as soon as she heard me come in, so I didn’t get a good look, but it appeared to be a novel. Something the size of, let’s say, a paperback Neal Stephenson. (But definitely not Neal Stephenson because that would make this person fairly cool, which we cannot have.)
So here I am, standing in a damp shower stall in my bathrobe thinking, “Have five months of book history finally driven me mad, or does that person have a codex in the shower? With the water running.” A lot of things went through my head in those few minutes. Why would you take a book in the shower? I understand the bathtub in your own (clean) home, but the dorm shower, seriously? Where there isn’t even a dry place to put it, or a comfortable seat? Not to mention that if you’re using a public shower it’s pretty impolite to take up time with non-cleansing-related activities. Had she done this before, or was it a rash experiment? Pleasure reading, or a disastrously procrastinated assignment? And now that it’s no longer resting on the divider, what is she doing with it?
At least one of my questions was answered within seconds, as I heard a sickening thwack and turned to see the poor book lying with its spine broken, its leaves covered in the soapy water and whatever else lives on the floor of a public shower. She tried to retrieve it quickly, but the damage was done. (I pity the used book dealer she will attempt to sell it too, as she inevitably will.) And when she left it was an enormous struggle for me to not peek around the curtain to discover her identity.
Since then I can’t stop thinking about shower book person. Did she try to finish the soaking-wet book? Has she learned her lesson? Like most of us, I’ve taken books to some pretty odd places, but I thought it might be good to create a list of zones where you actually shouldn’t be reading at all. Please feel free to chime in with your own.
- while surfing/skiing/skydiving, etc.
- a burning building
- sewage treatment pond
- a riot
- Level 4 bio-containment unit (unless it’s on microbiology)
- demolition derby
- neo-nazi book burning party
- reactor core
- the lion enclosure at the zoo