Where to go (and where not to go) when you have to go

Cory Hope, Arts and Entertainment Editor  Ω

When nature calls, it’s really hard not to answer.

Whether you’re on a hot date, in the middle of an exam, on the bus, or having a pint with some friends, some things just need to get done.

As someone who has personally needed to go in the infamous bathroom at CBGBs in New York City, I try to make sure that I keep a mental map of the places that will make do when I need to go.

You don’t really know your city until you know its facilities.

Kamloops is a relatively small town, and as such, options can be limited when it comes to places to go.
I fully endorse the idea of respecting the places you go, in the hopes that it will be clean for the next person walking through that door, as well as the person who has to come in and clean up after you.

I’m also in favour of not arguing with people over making a purchase to use the washroom (with a few exceptions).

It’s okay to ask, and it’s okay to tell them you really have to go, but if they insist the restrooms are for customers only, move along.

Having said that, I think the alleyway behind Zack’s Coffee Shop on the corner of 4th and Victoria would probably smell a whole lot better during the summer if only more places would let you walk in and use the can.

Disclaimer: I can only vouch for the men’s room in any of these establishments.

Starbucks Coffee on Columbia and 3rd.

Generally speaking, Starbucks tends to have clean restrooms which are open to the public regardless of whether or not they’re making a purchase.

That’s mighty considerate, especially considering the company makes billions of dollars selling products that make short-lived pitstops in the gastrointestinal systems of the people who ingest them.

Besides the one time I found a dirty heroin spoon on the floor of the bathroom (I didn’t taste it for heroin, I merely made the assumption.  It may have been for some other drug that you cook up in a spoon, assuming there’s more than one), I have always found the bathroom at Starbucks to be in good shape.

The spoon incident didn’t taint the whole bathroom, but it certainly made for a more cautious visit than I normally have in a public facility, expecting a needle to come out and stick me even when I was standing still.

Still, it was a one-time thing.

One of the most popular answers I got while asking people about washrooms was Cafe Motivo.

I was told that the staff were easy to approach if there was a mess or a problem with supplies being on hand, so I went to investigate.

The bathroom was clean and well-stocked, so I couldn’t immediately figure out what it was that I didn’t like about it.

Then it hit me.  There was no hallway.

The bathroom at Cafe Motivo downtown lacks a hallway before the door, which I have decided that I find awkward.

When you walk out of a hallway, even if that hallway leads to the bathroom and only the bathroom and everyone knows it, you are still just walking out of a hallway.

If, upon completion of your business, you open the door and find yourself immediately surrounded by people, then people can presumably see you and the toilet simultaneously, which is an uncomfortable social moment.

The hallway lends a transitional phase to the trip to the bathroom.

It allows us to pretend that there was something else in between the moment we were washing our hands after handling our shame and walking out in public.

This brings me to The Noble Pig, which is the unusual recipient of a tie score in the bathroom category.

The Noble Pig sports two washrooms; one in the front by the patio, and one in the back.

The washroom in the back of the restaurant is among the finest and cleanest in town, and I would really have to stretch to find anything wrong with it.

The washroom by the patio, however, is one of my least favourites in town.

For starters, it lacks a hallway.  I have already covered why it is that I don’t like this.

But this unisex washroom is in a busy pub, and that means that it is frequented by many people in various states of intoxication.

For those of you who might not have ever had to deal with this sort of thing, intoxication can have a detrimental effect on some of the subtler skills in life, such as aim.

I know that if I were to open the door to the bathroom and a girl were to walk in after me, I would be mortified if there was a mess on the toilet seat, even if I hadn’t been the cause of it.

This means that if I were to walk into that bathroom, and there was a mess on the seat, I would need to clean it up even if it wasn’t mine.

Because I just know if I don’t, the next person walking through that door is going to be Keira Knightley, and she’s going to be disgusted with me and tell all of her friends about how gross I am.

That’s not fair, and I now refuse to use that bathroom.

The Art We Are was my next stop along the way.

I had heard tales of their nearly-legendary bathroom, and I must say, I think it was the nicest one I was in.
It is almost nice enough to leave my house for in the morning, perhaps to order a coffee and grab a newspaper.

Almost.

It does have one strike against it though.

You’ll probably think I’m really nitpicking on this one.

I hate the way they have their paper towels set up.  I know this is a petty complaint, but hear me out.

When I go to dry my hands, I try to use the smallest amount of paper towel I need to.

The Art We Are has refrained from installing an unsightly hand dryer on the wall, or a paper towel dispenser, instead opting for the paper-towels-stacked-up method that lots of places have been adopting.
Sure, it looks a lot better, but whenever I pick up a paper towel and I leave a wet fingerprint on the next one, I always feel like I should pick up the next one, too, just so the next person coming in doesn’t have the wet paper towel to sift through before they can dry their hands.

Yes, I know that’s really petty, and despite it, The Art We Are wins my first ever Public Washroom Award.

Perhaps I’m too considerate for my own good when it comes to the public bathroom, or maybe I’m just hoping that if I follow the golden rule, others will too.

Regardless, I hope I have given you a few options to consider the next time you’re downtown and feel the need for relief.

Oh, and congratulations to The Art We Are.

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