I once worked at an ad agency in Alabama. It was located in a small, old building in downtown Homewood. The bathroom in the building had horrible acoustics. Going in there was like walking onto a stage that loudly reflected every sound throughout the hallway and the CEO’s office which was next door. So instead of using that bathroom, my friend Billy Ivey and I started walking down the street to Dawson Baptist. We had stumbled upon that rare secret church bathroom and it was like Shangri-La.
Have you ever found one of those? They’re delightful. While the masses wait and grumble in line after church in one of the popular bathrooms, you can steal away to your own private Fortress of Solitude. It’s quiet, it’s clean and it’s the polar opposite of every other bathroom in the building. But there are a few rules you need to know about the secret church bathroom:
1. There is no secret church bathroom.
2. There is no secret church bathroom.
3. Seriously, don’t tell anyone.
These things tend to go viral so the second you tell a friend you have essentially just murdered your secret bathroom. I’m not suggesting you be selfish, but guard this secret carefully.
4. Beware the handicapped bathroom.
It’s tempting to find a handicapped bathroom that may be underused, but I promise it’s not worth making someone that is handicapped wait on you.
5. The secret bathroom is never in the kids section of your church.
Cleanliness is one of the signs of a good secret bathroom and four-year olds without any degree of aim mastery kill your hope of that.
6. Check the counseling area.
If your church has an area where they do counseling, check there first. There’s still a stigma about counseling in some churches that only broken people need it. (I’ve seen four counselors, so it’s cool with me.) So people are not prone to hang out in this area. They get in and out. They don’t want to be judged so the bathrooms are usually left pretty empty.
7. The church admin knows all.
The smartest person at a church is usually the church admin. Seriously. If you have one, ask her or him if they have heard any rumors of a fabled land where the bathroom is always clean and empty.
8. Lights off is success.
The greatest moment for a porcelain pioneer, a toilet traveler if you will, is when you walk into a dark bathroom and the automatic lights come on. I cheer outloud when that happens because it means no one has been there for a while. It’s like the lights at a surprise party have just been thrown on and it’s time to celebrate. (I need to get out more.)
I hope you don’t find this crass. I didn’t write it to shock you, but more to help you as you head off on a journey for your own bathroom version of Xanadu. Happy Friday. Happy travels.