Earth Day finds my family and me at a lecture series being given in a Theology school building on a campus the other side of town. God and Creation, our roles as stewards of the environment, what do religions have to say about reduce, recycle, reuse? One of the lectures is given by the theology school site manager. Even though the building is over 50 years old, he is proud of the fact that they have been able to convert it over to green energy and more efficient energy usage over the last three years.
Unfortunately, the climate control has not caught up to the fact that it is an unseasonably hot day in April, topping out in the high 80s F. The lecture hall is quite warm.
At the close of the talk, many of us bolt outside the room seeking relief. I am looking for a women’s lavatory, and even though there is a men’s room right outside the hall, there is no women’s to be seen. A little sign directs me to the stairwell 30 feet away, and then down a hall, and then down another hall. I suspect that when this building was constructed 50 years ago, the architects presumed that only men would be using the building, hence only one gender of washroom was constructed. As I walk to my farther destination, I notice that three exceptionally fat male students roaming the halls, looking for cold air. They complain about the uncomfortable lecture hall, and given that they have more surface area skin to heat up, they are seeking cold air vents. But this is a difficult task, the halls have cement walls lining one side and full panes of glass on the other side.
Coming to the stairwell towards my intended ladies destination, I am confronted with a blast of cool air in the doorway. I motion to them, “Here! Here there is some really cool air!” They stare back at me, bug eyed. I shrug my shoulders and proceed down a dimly lit hall in search of my ablutions. I figure it would have taken the overweight students quite some time to find this zone, seeing how far away it is from the lecture hall.
I turn on the sink and as I wash my hands I consider the theology school ladies’ room. Was this rabbit warren constructed for a discreet secretary pool? Was it a converted chairman’s private lavatory? I remember that the Engineering Building of my undergraduate university was constructed at about the same time. They too, had assumed that all engineers would be of one gender. Since it was a seven story building, they decided that every other floor would be designated a women’s bathroom. I wonder what they have done to accommodate the currently fashionable gender-less bathroom? Knowing California, they have probably knocked down the old building and built something completely new, with politically correct washroom facilities.
As I return to the lecture hall, I see that all three fat men are positioned in the cool, sweet spot zone in the doorway leading to the staircase.