Shitting at the Inn at Penn is by far the best non–academic, non–social decision I’ve made in college. I’m overwhelmed by delight inside my comfortable, perfumed haven and make a point of stopping in to relieve myself almost every day.
A visit to the handicapped stall of the ballroom bathroom on the second floor can last anywhere from five minutes to a half hour. I hang my coat and backpack on two separate hooks on the mahogany stall door, unpack homework or a notebook and contpooplate. One time I did an entire box of Sudoku perched on that white basin. If I haven’t called home in a while, I do that too.
For two years I’d been forced to compromise my day–to–day practices to suit conditions so grungy and raucous that my mother would faint if she even remotely understood. When the time came each morning to take care of business, in a deteriorating frat house cubicle with dried vomit clinging to the seat and toilet paper permanently AWOL, I was simply miserable.
So, I upgraded.
Glorious green awnings, flapping in the Walnut Street wind, beckon me. Without realizing, I’m at a brisk trot. I cling to the straps of my backpack to stabilize it as some not–so–steady bowels begin testing my self–discipline. The revolving door of the Inn at Penn gracefully spins me in, fading the stress of the street into soft–jazz. A floral staircase runner is my red carpet, and I’m dashing to center stage.
I casually scratch my head to shield my face as I stroll by the receptionists’ desk, en route to the sacred vessel. Butt cheeks are clenched. The ballroom bathrooms are chanting my name.
With a personal sink and wall–sized mirror (not to mention a bin of washcloths next to a pot of fake grass) I’m able to fully cleanse before packing up. I depart the zone of Zen wholly consumed by the thought of returning tomorrow. Free of pain, free of fear and free of waste, I face the new day.