I know this has been reused many times, but hell, I don’t care. 13 and ignorant, that’s how I was. Halfway into my first year of secondary school, and I was still making friends who were studying in the same class as I was.
My classmates and I were pretty studious students; we were very much concerned (I’m not kidding) about our studies, even though it was only the first year of the 4 that we would be schooling together. And being buddies, we made sure that we were always in a group, no matter school or after. A fancy way of saying “hanging out”.
Final term of the year was coming in few months, and we were getting perturbed about our progression into the next year. I don’t know about now, but during those days, we couldn’t advance to the next grade if we did poorly for our exams. Buddies being buddies, we made sure that we get to advance together, and so, we worked on effecting our plan of “being there for each other”.
Finding a suitable place to study was the most difficult thing we had to do, and I swear by that statement. Libraries would be full of people sitting and taking up seats just to enjoy the air-con in this country that is humid all year round (I was kinda glad that Internet wasn’t available then; it could have been worse). Void decks would be too hot for us to study, and for most of us, pocket-money was too little for us to afford meals at Macdonald’s in order to use their areas. But we did not give up. Young, foolish and full of perseverance, we went on our quest to search for the best place for our study group.
Days of fruitless search filled with disappointments followed after we firmed up on our study plan, but still, giving up wasn’t on our minds. We went from malls to malls, libraries to libraries, and finally, as just we thought we would have to make do with the bedroom of any one of us, we got our blessings from the Lord. It was a nice, cozy, air-conditioned corner with soothing music that no one would disturb. Quiet and peaceful were just two of the many nice terms we could use to describe our newly found Heaven-on-Earth. We settled on it immediately, because we did not think we were crazy. We made our study corner in the handicapped toilet cubicle inside the shopping mall that was very near our school.
You did not read it wrong. If you had paid attention to the 1st paragraph, I did mention that I (read: we) was 13 and ignorant. We gave no single fuck to people who would stare at us with the “what the fuck” look. We just thought it was a nice place, and we went ahead without thinking too much about it.
The cubicle was built in such a way that there was a toilet bowl that could be covered (clean, of course), a built-in sink that we could use for our…face washing needs (come’on, we needed to freshen up every 5 minutes) and concrete seating for people who…visit the cubicle with the handicapped person using it? Anyway, the design was just nice for 3 to 4 of us, and we would occupy the cubicle for our group study sessions after school. Fuck the wheelchairers; there were many restrooms in the mall. Just take the escalators, would ya?
Our first group study session was wonderful. Even though the lighting was dim, we managed to push through 3 hours of study, made perfect with sandwiches and drinks that we brought in. Oh please, we needed to have our lunch.
We paid no attention to people who stared at us, and we gave no fuck to the opening and closing of the doors to the other cubicles besides the one that we were using. I mean, we were so absorbed in our mugging; we couldn’t pay attention to anything else. No, don’t ask if 4 (male) students walking out the handicap cubicle was weird. It wasn’t. Everything was perfect in our eyes.
Until the day we had to disband our group.
It was study after school as usual, and having finished our lunches, we stared into the books on our hands as we sit in this dim corner. My friends and I were starting to appreciate the fun studying together. I remember chewing the last piece of my lunch, and just as I was – eyes still on the book – taking a sip from the bottle, I heard a slight commotion coming from the main toilet “lobby”.
Someone just barged into the toilet, and it got our attention. People come and go, especially in a setting like toilet, so we heeded nothing. I capped my bottle, and continued my reading and scribbling of notes. Then the footsteps came nearer to us. The person, whom I assumed was guy, pushed the door of our cubicle, but in vain. It was locked, because we did not enjoy disturbances during our study; we needed silence. So he tried his chances elsewhere. By now, I believe you already know that “elsewhere” would mean “other cubicles”.
I do not know if it was luck or just plain stupidity of us from the start, the person (again, I assume it’s a he) opened the door of the cubicle that was just next to ours, and proceeded to close the door and locked it. It was just another person using the toilet. Free rights; fair enough.
After he had his door locked, we heard – in the silence – him unzipping his pants/jeans, and then pulled down his pants/jeans before sitting on the wonder bowl. What we heard next would be the reason for the disbandment of our study group.
Prrrffff…….pppppraaakkkkkkkk…….plop plop plop plop ploploploplo……PLOP!
Endless sound of solids dropping into the water of the toilet bowl, right next to the cubicle we were using. It was so darn loud that all of us stopped to listen to the beautiful voice of nature. It startled us for a while, before we remembered what we learnt during our science classes – the 5 senses.
The smell (very) soon spread to the cubicle I was in like waves of fragrance going into your room when my mother was cooking. It was akin to how your mother was cooking your favourite dish when you were in your room, just that this time, the kitchen was right next to your bedroom, and you have to substitute the fragrance of cooked food to the atrocious smell of potty pot. I now wonder if that guy had been suffering from constipation prior to his visit. Go on, take a minute and let what you have read sink in.
The minute we realized that the pungent smell of excrement was trying to drown us with the first wave, we closed our books and started stuffing them into our bags without order. We did not even have the time to bring along our unfinished drink bottles; we left behind all edible (that were made inedible) food that we brought into our study corner, and we made a quick dash out of the toilet with our bags not even sitting properly on our shoulders.
We gasped for our breaths the second our feet stepped on the polished floor of the mall, and we looked at each other with confusion. I am surprise why we did not hate each other for not anticipating this, since our choice of the perfect corner was the handicapped cubicle. Before we could settle on another place to study, we disbanded our group temporarily. We went home that day promising each other that we would tell no one about this. This incident wasn’t mentioned anymore, even though we still hanged out in school.
Our study group never got back together, and I guess that wasn’t a bad thing also.
What’s the maddest thing that you’ve ever done?
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.