Hostel Life: Using the communal bathroom at midnight / by Chris Tyre


There's no worse feeling than needing to pee in the middle of the night when you’re laying on the top bunk in a shared six plus person dorm room. You debate if it's even worth it. Yes, your bladder is burning but you know your going to injure yourself in the pitch black by climbing down. Banging your leg on the ladder… missing a step… stepping on something or someone... slipping on a dirty sock… The options are limitless.

Then, if you're like me, you're nervous you are going to wake someone up. It's annoying enough that your mattress squeaks as you twist and turn throughout the night, but the wooden floorboards are even louder. Are the possible angry grunts and frustrated moans from the sleeping international community surrounding you worth it? Is it possible to do it quietly? Someone in the room is snoring anyway. Will that cover up your noise and the curse words you’ll undoubtedly mutter as you attempt to climb out of bed?

You go for it. You bump your knee, mutter a curse under your breath and make it to your flip flops relatively successfully. You've waken no one up. You think, now that you’re up is there anything that you need from your locker. Naturally, your breath tastes bad and you’re thirsty from the energy exerted from executing your strategy down the bunkbed stairs. How loud is that little padlock going to echo in this small dorm room? Is somebody going to suddenly wake up, startle you, and accuse you of stealing their things? (Been down that road before in Munich.) Screw it. It's not worth it. Peeing is more important and you are a minute away from feeling relief. Then you notice a silhouette of a body in the corner of the room in a fetal position, presumably drunk or hungover depending for how long she/he has been there. You think, at least you’re not that guy. You quietly tip toe toward the bathroom in your flip flops (which kind of makes the tip toeing counter intuitive) and you make it to your final destination. Luckily, someone left the bathroom light on for you so you don't need to hunt for it in the dark. You gently close the door. God is on your side. At midnight, you're not worried about a disgusting looking toilet. You're expecting it. You're just hoping not to make contact with any questionable liquids.

Then the most amazing thing happens. The turning point of the journey if you will. The flush. No doubt the single loudest event that has to take place. Morally you can't not flush. It's disgusting and you don't want to upset your fellow slumbering international community. (You’re representing your country remember.) Once you do it, it will buy you about 5-8 seconds of being recklessly loud. Maybe enough time to sneak back into your bed. Either way, you suddenly don't care anymore. It's as if you released your self doubt in that toilet too. You push the lever, rinse your hands, toss off your flip flops and hop back into bed in less time than it took to debate whether you should even gotten out of bed. Now you're back underneath the questionably clean covers. As you close your sand-crusted eyelids you feel something a movement. Oh no, do you need to go number 2?