There are few people more intimidating than the janitor in a swank hotel toilet….writes Bikram Vohra
You walk into this place redolent with lavender and vanilla and he is there always mopping in front of the door of the only available stall and you have to skirt past him with a sheepish grin because he knows where you are going and you are already self conscious as you latch yourself in and because he is there you have to put all bodily sounds on mute because you cannot be heard,
So you maintain this forced silence, because making any noises, well that’s just not done, what will he think? And when you are finally finished the flush roars like a cannon going off and you mentally say, ssshhhhhhh and come out and he is standing there pointing to the ultra hi tech tap and you have this flash of panic about how it comes on and what if you mess up and the water doesn’t flow?
Then, to prove what a sanitary guy you are you go into this elaborate routine of washing your hands with the liquid soap, doing it with an intensity that would put Lady Macbeth to shame, wash, wash, rub, rub (we must make a good impression on he who watches) and now he is hovering like a chopper over you holding a fluffy white towel that he shakes open.
Now you have to take the fluffy white towel with visible gratitude like it was a lifebelt to a drowning man and vigorously dry your hands with above-mentioned fluffy, white towel and hand back the now not so fluffy white towel so he can throw it into the bin and you have guilt streaming down like rainwater on a spaniel’s back because why couldn’t you thrown it back yourself, it is a six inch by six inch towel not a shot putt but he insisted, what could you do.
And since you do none of these things at home (go on, no one is holding a fluffy white towel outside your bathroom at home) and now he is looking at you and salaaming away and you have to tip him but obviously you haven’t got change (law of nature that you will never have change when you visit a 5 star loo) and now his lip is going into sneer mood with the fluffy white towel looking more like an indictment and the sneer is going into a curl of disappointment and turning accusatory because you used soap and the stall and the fluffy white towel which he unfurled for you and took back from you and dumped in the bin and you, you rotten little skinflint, you have no change and now you have to get past him like it was checkpoint Charlie and you were a runner and you sidle past apologetically hoping madly you won’t need to come back again tonight. Phew.