The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Thinking inside the box

I know of a place, a wonderful place, where any person can go to be alone with their thoughts regardless of who they are or what they believe in.

It’s no place out of the ordinary. There are no fields of green or skies of blue. No golden sunsets or endless beaches. Just four walls and a modest white throne. We’ve all been there before: The Bathroom Stall.

You see, The Stall is a place of freedom, a place of release (both physical and emotional). The bathroom boasts one of the strictest and most well-enforced sets of unwritten rules we as Americans have to offer. Who dares disturb the user of such a place? The Stall is a mountain in the sea, a slice of stability.

You may be asking yourself, “Why does this guy like bathroom stalls so much? Is he some kind of pervert?” In reply, I would say to you, “Look around you, friend, and tell me what you see. There’s life. There’s emotion. There’s graffiti.”

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Now you may be asking, “What makes bathroom stall graffiti so great?”

Well, it’s great because of where it comes from. We spend our days holding doors for strangers and exchanging pleasantries with barely-acquaintances. These actions and reactions come from the outside of ourselves, from what we have learned we must do as a part of the social machine. But bathroom graffiti is something different.

It comes from deep inside us because we know that no person will ever know the true identity of the artist responsible for each masterpiece. It is a way to express one’s truest feelings to hundreds of people without the slightest chance of being exposed.

Bathroom art may be beautiful or ugly, well-researched or ignorant. It may be created out of love or out of spite. Many people are offended by what they read on the walls, and some even take the initiative to respond to some brave individual’s bold remark. To me, this reaction is pure beauty.

The Stall forces us to ask ourselves things like, “Do I agree with that statement? Why am I offended by what I’m viewing? Do I feel strongly enough about this statement to respond, or to prevent myself from responding?”

There is a raw truth in both the message and the response, and that truth is not something that should be covered up.

The money spent concealing bathroom graffiti may not be a particularly significant amount, but it is money that doesn’t need to be spent.

We could all use a little time alone with our truths or, at the very least, a little entertainment. This whole idea may seem a bit ridiculous, but it deserves a moment of consideration.

So next time you find yourself offended or entertained by some stranger’s baring of their soul, go ahead and think about why you feel that way. And please, don’t forget to flush.

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Thinking inside the box