I live in San Francisco, and every time I use a real restroom (as opposed to my usual method of squat-popping in the nooks between beautifully restored Victorian townhouses) I like to read the vague but dogmatic hippie scribblings that fall into my line of sight. I’ve seen “We must love one another or die!” in a couple of bars; look guys, even Auden thought this was a sentimental line—and he wrote it. Bob Marley lyrics are also a popular choice, “Don’t gain the world but lose your soul!” And Gandhi, oh, the Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see," is ubiquitous.
The walls yell a cumulative message that goes something like this:
“You there! You apathetic automaton, wake up! Get up! Stand up! You’re wasting time! Read Foucault! Fuck Bush! Smoke weed!”
For the most part, I’m into living in a place where people write quotations like, “Freedom of conscience entails more dangers than authority and despotism” above the tampon receptacle as opposed to the usual “Dolores is The Hand Job Queen!” type-drivel. But sometimes, I wish people would save the preaching for the pulpit and stop telling me my business while I’m trying to pee.
Which is why I loved the graffiti I spotted in Philz Coffee today:
In case you can't read it, it says:
"Life holds no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulty.”
“MAN’S HIGHEST PURPOSE IS TO HAVE NO PURPOSE.”
“What is ya'll [sic] talkin about”