The Heinous Conspiracy Against People Who, Well, Just Gotta Go

    Those who frequent the Student Center will have noticed some unsettling changes this year – and it’s not the construction, random walkway blockage or incessant relocation of the center’s stores. What I’m talking about is much graver. I’m talking about the apparent nationwide conspiracy that has infiltrated this sacred hippie area of campus. I’m talking about an evil effort, masterminded to prevent adults from reaching something they need more than sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

    I’m talking about toilets.

    It started earlier in the school year when the upstairs Student Center bathrooms were first gutted during construction. It continued when the downstairs bathrooms were also closed, leaving locals to resort to using the Hi Thai or Porter’s Pub toilets.

    But then, oh my, let me tell you, then came Sunday, May 13. It was a day that will live in infamy; both the pub and our new favorite Asian cuisine eatery were closed. And a swarm of full-bladdered Guardian editors were definitely forced to use the tiny, one-person, unisex bathroom hidden at the edge of the Student Center.

    Now this may seem melodramatic, but this subtle bathroom deletion is a symptom of a carefully calculated terror sweeping the nation.

    Earlier in the quarter I was sitting on a plane, waiting for it to taxi to the runway and take off. A good half hour passed as a group of high school kids boarded, situated and resituated themselves when I realized – and I’ll be frank with you – I had to pee.

    ‘The faster we’re all seated, the faster the plane will take off,’ I told myself. But as 15 more minutes passed below the illuminated fasten-seat-belts sign, I began to fidget in discomfort.

    Time ticked away as flight attendants strolled through the cabin reminding us to keep tray tables in the upright and locked position, and after nearly an hour we weren’t even taxiing. So I decided to go for it – I unclicked my seat belt and walked boldly to the airplane lavatory.

    Bad move. Instantly a horde of flight attendants and high school chaperones who mistook me for a student were yelling at me to sit down. Overwhelmed, both by all the people and by my exploding bladder, I exclaimed that I needed to pee.

    Exclaiming anything on a plane post-9/11? Very bad move.

    Now I know what you’re thinking: Those are just coincidences, not evidence of a plan to keep adults from using the bathroom. Actually, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. But I’m on to something here.

    I was recently driving back to San Diego from a trip home when, again, I needed to pee. I exited the freeway in my now least-favorite town and began what soon became a 20-mile search. Everything was closed. And sure, around 11 p.m. was kind of late, but not that late for a Saturday. Even the gas stations were closed, which I learned after stopping at two of them. The only things that were open were the 7-Elevens, which apparently have a very strict no-public-bathrooms rule.

    I kid you not; I stopped at three 7-Elevens. Each time the cashier would gesture up the road and tell me to ‘try the gas station,’ which was invariably closed. As you can imagine, by the third 7-Eleven I was feeling pretty desperate.

    ‘Do you have an employee bathroom?’ I asked the man behind the counter. ‘This is the fifth place I’ve stopped, and no one will let me use their bathroom.’

    He explained to me that the employee bathroom was messy and unfit for customers. I tried to tell him I didn’t care; I needed to find a toilet. I told him I would pay $20, and he told me to try the gas station.

    OK, it’s possible that UCSD is just experiencing unfortunate construction, or that airport security has tightened almost irrationally in response to 9/11, but there is no way that an entire town suddenly becoming bathroomless on a Saturday night is an accident.

    I’m telling you, something wicked this way comes, and we need to stop it before the people of the Student Center are forced to revert to the cesspools of old.

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