It was my first time on the beat. I was sweaty, nervous and bloated — The Badger Herald and my bowels both desperately needed this review to be underway.
For my debut review, I felt it fitting that I honor the historic and progressive past of University of Wisconsin by taking a big ole crap in one of its oldest buildings. North Hall was the first building on campus, erected in 1851. It currently houses the offices of the political science faculty and from what I could distinguish, it also houses only one bathroom for each gender — not exactly the pinnacle of defecation convenience.
Having thoroughly burned my thigh muscles ascending Bascom Hill in the hopes of reaching the porcelain throne which awaited me, I slowly crept into North Hall — fully aware I was a bloated ambassador unwelcomed in the ancient halls. For starters, the floors were incredibly squeaky, having taken decades of abusive foot traffic. It was worrisomely clear that no covert crapper was going to make it in and out of North Hall unnoticed.
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Taking the steps two at a time desperate for colon liberation, I found the men’s room situated inconveniently on the third floor. I entered, slightly disappointed that a building seemingly from the Middle Ages didn’t boast any parapets by which a pooper could release his payload onto masses of assailing invaders.
That aside, a weary traveler will find the room of relief blisteringly hot — 86 degrees, according to the wall thermostat. Since I was bundled up in my lavish London Fog peacoat my mom gave me last Christmas, I was instantly perspiring well before the real work had yet to be undertaken.
But, here I have to make a confession — I didn’t use the facility. I stood there, listening to the tranquil sound of an outdated radiator at work, realizing the depths of journalism which I had descended to. My body had no intention of procuring a bowel movement; which means I had hiked across campus, up Bascom hill, went into an obscure building I otherwise would never visit, up six flights of stairs, all to snap awkward photos of a dingy bathroom for the internet.
North Hall is actually a pretty decent place to poo. It’s quiet, cozily warm, echoing with UW history, features a used plunger in the corner and if you imagine hard enough, the ghost of John Bascom cheering you on. It’s absolutely not aesthetically pleasing, but thankfully it’s more about the journey to find this dookie hideaway than the act of using the ancient facility.
Temperature: Pleasant in the dead of winter, intolerable in this El Niño stuff
Noise: Just you and the tinkling radiator
Traffic: Only the co-eds of decades’ past
Lighting: Too harsh, eerily similar to pooping in a spotlight, can’t be completely sure someone isn’t watching
Stalls: One standard
Toilet paper: Two rolls of one ply
Sinks: Two manual faucets
Cell service: Three bars, full strength wifi
Automatic flush: No, but pleasently surprised it isn’t hand-cranked
Graffiti: Untouched by the test of time
Overall rating: 3.2/5