I was in Windhoek, Namibia with a group of students from WPI working on my IQP two years ago, and anyone who’s worked on an IQP knows that at times, things can get a little stressful. In hopes of having a night of peace, I told my boyfriend, who was on the same street, that I wanted to go to see a movie. It had been what seemed like ages since I saw a movie. The two of us hailed a cab, and soon we were off to the only shopping plaza in the country, which also happened to have the “classiest” movie theater. We walk in, and they had an entire TWO movies to choose from: Ice Age 2 and something Lindsey Lohan was in. Not being a particular fan of Lindsey Lohan, we opted for Ice Age two.
As we’re headed in to see the movie, I decided that rather than risk having to leave the movie midway, I would run to use the little girls’ room.
And then, going to see a movie in Africa became an adventure.
I walk into the seemingly modern restroom. It had tiled floors, sinks with running hot and cold water (which wasn’t always the case in Namibia), and even the modern bathroom stalls and porcelain toilets. Nothing seemingly wrong. I pick the first stall, open the door, and see that someone who wasn’t accustomed to toilets had been there. I pick the second stall and find the toilet littered with cigarette butts.
Third time was a charm as I found a clean stall. I turn to shut the stall door and turn the lock. CLUNK! “Oh no,” I thought as I realized the lock broke after I had put it in lock position. I try to unlock the door but no luck. I was stuck in an African bathroom stall and no one was answering my screams. After ten minutes realizing my boyfriend would not be my knight in shining armor this time, I looked around to figure out my options.
Option 1: crawl under the door. With a mere 5 or so inches of clearance, I wasn’t looking forward to rubbing my face across the floor to escape.
Option 2: kick the door open. Seemingly better than crawling, I kicked as mighty a kick as I could, but alas, the door did not open.
Option 3: climb over the door.
I guessed this was my best option. I climbed onto the toilet, then onto the toilet paper holder, hooked one leg up over the top of the door, got half my body over and realized “HOLY CRAP THAT’S REALLY HIGH!” (The stall was about 10 feet tall or so. Much taller than the average stall) OK, so a fear of falling onto tile and cracking open my head set in. One I couldn’t overcome. I safely climbed back into the stall via toilet paper holder, and panic set in. I cant really have to crawl under that door!
I decide to give one last kick, if only to release my building frustration and with a mighty blow i was free! I washed my hands at the mirrorless sink station and walk outside. I look at my watch and realize i had been in there 20 minutes, but the movie still hadn’t started. Two steps later, my boyfriend sees me. At first he looked concerned at my absence, then relieved to see me, then, inexplicably, he burst out laughing. “Whats so funny? I’ve been trapped in a bathroom stall for 20 minutes! I didn’t even get to do my business and now I’m scared to. Stop laughing at me.” In between bursts of laughter, he managed to muster the words “your face… black… mirror.” I pull out a compact and sure enough I had some black fuzzy substance on my face. It must have been from climbing over the bathroom stall. I screamed and ran back into the bathroom and washed my face.
And with wet hair and a slightly soaked tshirt, still needing the girls room, we went in and watched Ice Age 2.
Hey, I didn’t want to go through all that for nothing!