December 10th, 2009
Last night I met my friend Jay in the East Village for an “experiential” minstrel show about racism where black people were in blackface. I don’t even know where to go with that...so I will just mosey over to the topic of day 124.
On my way to meet my friend at the theater, my bladder told me, “Jax, I need some release. Seriously. No, Seriously.” When bladder talks, I listen. My intention was to resort to my usual mischievous scheme where I saunter into a restaurant, tell the host that I’m “meeting” someone and then go to the bathroom. When I exit, I fake a phone call and leave the restaurant because it’s “rude” to talk on the phone inside. Then I run away. I’m truly that awesome.
I entered a Greek restaurant on 2nd avenue to execute what has always worked in the past. There was a very clear “Restrooms For Customers Only" sign. I gave the host the meet the friend fib and she said it didn’t matter and I had to buy something before I used their toilet. Fine. I bought bottled water and then I was given the green light to go where only customers have gone before. This particular bathroom was located in the deep dark depths of some maximum security maze. I had to be buzzed through two doors and then I walked down a dimly lit hallway like Clarice Sterling on her way to hang out with Hannibal Lecter.
I did my business and ran out of the restaurant like a teenager who was rolling a house at 3:00am and then the houselights come on.
As I walked the remaining blocks to he theater, my mind was consumed by the very nature of these “Restrooms For Customers Only" signs. Whoever makes these gold plated metal signs must be living quite comfortably in any economy. I figured the “plant’ where they’re made is located in some factory in rural Indiana and run like a sweatshop always on the verge of having major issues with Child Labor Laws. Some Führer type boss is constantly surveying the overworked and underpaid staff and shouting orders in a nondescript Eastern European accent.
It’s clear that restaurants with these signs take it quite literally. Yet it does seem ironic that the staff uses these bathrooms when it’s safe to assume that they’re not customers. Plus, the word “customers” leaves a lot of room for interpretation. I’m a customer...just not at your place. I just bought tampons at Duane Read. I consume.
Luckily I met my friend and this futile train of thought came to an end. I decided that at the end of the day I should just respect these signs and earn myself an invitation to the Greek restaurant’s ceremonious hanging of the “Restrooms for Customers Only” sign gala that involves incense, mediocre baklava and doves.