Toilet Art

There are vast places to play video games: at home, online, at an arcade in the mall or at a fair, where ever. Visiting the Santa Monica pier this summer brought me to an old-fashioned game venue that was “out of sight.” It was mind-blowing in décor, the variety of games, and the people! I mean the hair, the tattoos the clothes. Maybe I was there on some kind of cos play event day, I don’t know. It was pretty good people watching.

In any case, I joined in, wading through the crowd to get to my game of choice. I found myself in front of Dark Escape so I stayed, not wanted any further pushing and prodding to occur. I had downed a few drinks on the pier along with the local hotdog covered in deviled crab, and began a night of pure fun. I switched to a couple more games and the hours flew by.

Around 11:00 pm, duty called and I headed for the toilet at the back of the large building. I might have waited too long so I was impatient. Finally my turn came and I bolted in and locked the door. It was dark, only a single yellow gaping bulb to guide my way. I found another switch and with shock I saw the toilet light up—all neon and totally gaudy. The ceramic bowl itself had been painted in bright day-glo colors in full harmony with its surroundings. I stood wide-eyed. I thought I had seen it all before when it comes to arcades.

This bathroom was in a category all its own. I started to see that the walls were also painted in a similar theme with fantastic faces and creatures clawing at each other—at a very high level of drawing skill. I loved the toilet the best. Compared to the ones I’d seen before on Rate My Toilet, this was in a class of its own. The white paper looked purple in the artificial light. It was awesome. Was this a communal job, done by multiple participants over weeks, months, or years? What brainchild started it? There were no posted photos or signatures as you see in some public places for kids.

The painting was very good but clearly not done by one person, and they had all followed a theme. It is amazing that they would cooperate like that. People prefer to ruin others’ work if they can. They like to mar surfaces and cause visual havoc like errant taggers.

In essence, I loved it and stayed until I heard some angry raps at the door and a few shouts. Okay, okay, I said, and emerged, a smile on my face. I walked up and down the pier and tried every available restroom door. No more painted toilets, no personalized messages for those getting relief. Just plain ordinary somewhat disheveled rooms with stalls as plain as can be.

I wanted to go back but was late meeting a friend and had to rush off. Among my arcade experiences, this was indeed a time to remember – toilet art in its finest expression. Too good for Instagram, it’s only in my memories now.