Smokin’ in the Girl’s Room

This whole writing retreat thing is stranger than I remember it. This is the approach to my bedroom.  My bedroom door is the pale green thing with the poster taped across it:

For those of you with teensy monitors, here’s a closeup of the sign outside said approach:

Yes, you read that right.  My bedroom is inside the Gibraltar Point Women’s washroom.

Lest you think (quite reasonably) that I’m bullshitting you with a nondescript picture of a nondescript door, here is a picture looking back out through the women’s washroom from inside my bedroom:

It gets weirder.  The bank of industrial flourescent lights on the ceiling over my bed is hooked into the washroom circuit, and at least one female artist in this establishment has a weak bladder.  At 2a.m. this past morning, all the lights in my room went on without warning.  (Actually, there may have been warning, but being sound asleep prior to that point I could have  missed it.)

The local women artists also seem to be early risers.  Starting at 5:30 this morning, my lights started  turning on and off at 15-minute intervals, just enough time to let me drift back to sleep before reawakened by broad-spectrum white light and the sound of fecal pellets dropping into toilet bowls.   By 6:45 I’d discovered that the switch in my room also controlled the lights in the women’s washroom.  I had about 15 minutes to savor the experience of waiting until these thoughtless XXs were firmly planted over their toilets and killing their lights before I had to head off on the morning run.

I can only assume that one of the people currenting residing at the GP Arts Center is working on a postgraduate degree in psychology.


Title credit Dave “I Made Up The 900 Years Thing” Nickle

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 6:28 pm and is filed under misc, On the Road. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

31 Responses to “Smokin’ in the Girl’s Room”

  1. Bahumat

    I just had a mighty giggle imagining you, crouched by a light switch, poised and stifling giggles as your finger wanders to the switch.

    I should have known you were the mischevious type!

  2. G

    Why is it thoughtless of someone to use a toilet? It’s an actual toilet, with a sign indicating that it’s not a joke: why is it their fault how stupidly someone set up lights or how stupid it is to have a bedroom attached to lights to a wash room?

  3. loonquawl

    Post a sign, if that is not too prudish at thing to do.

  4. Peter Watts

    @G: Dude, lighten up. It’s funny. And I was only joking about the battling light switches anyway (although there are light switches in both rooms that control the circuit.

    @loonquawl: There’s been a sign posted at the light switch since before I moved in. Doesn’t seem to matter. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

  5. Außenseiter

    Disable the lights in your room, and use a candle?

    I’m well known for sabotaging speakers at drinking venues where the personnel ignore my requests to turn the music down. I really, really hate loud music I don’t like.

  6. proudinjun

    Only you, Mr. Watts, only you.

  7. Anony Mouse

    The Peter Watts that I remember would fantasize about a scenario such as this. Your old testosterone factories must be on a work-to-rule campaign.


    @Außenseiter: been many fights because of it?

  9. Johan Larson

    Sounds like some sharp-eyed administrator noted that a supply closet off the women’s washroom was just big enough to serve as an adequate dorm room. A quickie remodelling, and poof, living space adequate for students and writers.

  10. Kai

    I seem to need to use the word “surreal” (or similar meaning) a lot when commenting here. =P I don’t think it helps that even your bedside table is angled. Part of me looks at the picture of your room and wonders if they’ve been keeping up with your events and wanted to give you a tiny taste of prison life?

    Your life is always interesting it seems. Hope the remainder of the retreat goes well though =)

  11. JsD

    Yeah, that has to be a bizarre social experiment.
    Try taking out the CFLs before going to sleep. 🙂

  12. Daniel

    I’d enjoy watching a TV show loosely based off this adventure.

  13. keanani

    What is going on here? First you have a nipple moment, because of one who has nipples society deems must be hidden from offending the sight of other humans, and then you have sleeping quarters that are seemingly part of a room where the naughty nippled ones can congregate and evacuate their various orifices…

    This song would sound great with the acoustics in the girly bathroom that seems to be part of the sensory experiences (visual, auditory, olfactory and feeling) that is obviously part of your accomodations…

    Hmm, maybe I should pray for you because you are now also being sleep deprived…

    p.s. I bet your dreams are a bit wonky with the sudden awakening and the semiconscious knowledge of what is going on with the glare of lights from the “other room”.

  14. Peter Watts

    @anony mouse:

    Testosterone factories are fine (I can provide references if I really have to).
    But the inhabitants of this wing are not exactly Huntsmanesque, if you know what I mean.

  15. keanani

    Peter revealed: “By 6:45 I’d discovered that the switch in my room also controlled the lights in the women’s washroom. I had about 15 minutes to savor the experience of waiting until these thoughtless XXs were firmly planted over their toilets and killing their lights before I had to head off on the morning run.”

    Actually this is quite funny and I guess you got your wrath of con revenge for those in possession of double X’s and naughty nipples.

    However, I wonder if they are aware that when they turn the bathroom light on, it turns the light on in the wee room set off from the wee wee room? Perhaps those who are in control of the retreat should alert those who identify as female and must utilize that facility that they should have a flashlight to navigate their way to bodily relief within those confines?

    A nite light would also do the trick for a flick of the switch illumination to see and wee with a poo and view…

    I am laughing at this total experience of which you are having Peter, and am seeing that it is involving females, from the Virgin eared mommy, to the female red shirt telling you that some “writers are well-known for being able to speak coherently while drunk…”, to this latest experience with those not in possession of a proud and mighty member…

    Oh by the way, I see you have a really tall locker and some flowers on your desk…

    Thanks for the laughs Peter! 🙂 After work today I gotta go see my Dad who was Air Ambulanced last nite over to this island for heart surgery…I might stay with him in or near the ICU.

  16. Anony Mouse

    @Peter Watts: But the inhabitants of this wing are not exactly Huntsmanesque, if you know what I mean.

    I think that I know what you mean, but there is a flaw in your statistical assumptions. Huntsmanesqueness, in your theory, only takes within sample variation into account (1983), but completely ignores the between sample variation (1983, 1984, 1985, etc.).


  17. Hljóðlegur

    Testosterone factories are fine (I can provide references if I really have to).

    Yes, please. If you have written certification of your testicles, we would appreciate you submitting that with your man license renewal forms?

  18. V

    Sheesh, they could assigned a woman the room. Someone was clearly asleep at the switch.

    if the same happened to me with a guys’ bathroom I’d raise holy hell.
    Because I’ve stayed over in all-male dorms and had to use guys’ bathrooms (luckily before anyone was awake), and I never want to repeat that experience. Can’t be much better to be right next door.

    Hope the rest of the retreat is a better experience.

  19. Peter Watts


    The offer of references was made to Anony Mouse alone. Anony Mouse and I have history.

    We have no present, but we have history.

  20. keanani

    “The local women artists also seem to be early risers. Starting at 5:30 this morning, my lights started turning on and off at 15-minute intervals…”

    Early risers? At 5:30 a.m.? Gee I arise around 2:30 to 3:30 a.m., I like to create and do arty things…

    “…and the sound of fecal pellets dropping into toilet bowls.”

    There is something rabbity about that, as well as scatmandoo…

    Alright, I know it is NOT the same, but the old-schoolish dorm like look of the place, the gathering of males and females in the pursuit of reading, witting, creating, learning and art (educational stuff) along with the big ole locker, cute little kiddie desk n’ table by the bed, coupled with the fact that a nondescript hidey hole door is within the women’s washroom (where females do get sorta naked) and the bedroom behind that door with the bushy thing poster that peeks into the female space that’s for a pee and wee, wipe and wash, for some reason is reminding me of that old movie Porky’s. The one with Pee Wee Morris and Lt. Valeris (Canadian, “Lassie” because she “howled”, in the locker room)…

  21. rayp

    Dr. Watts: at this rate, people will start deliberately setting you up.

    National Lampoon Animal House – the SF writer’s version coming soon.

  22. Hljóðlegur

    @PW: the offer of references was made to Anony Mouse…we have history.

    Ah! HAhahahahahaha! Oh, so not getting your general man license renewed. I wasn’t sure how often they needed renewing in Canada, what certifies for a class G license, et cetera. in the US, no need for ovary certification, just a photocopy of your nipples, for the girl license.

    @keanani – Porky’s. Now that will take you back.

  23. Brian Prince

    My first gig in animation had me working out of the basement of a gynecologist’s office. Occasionally I had to redirect confused pregnant women who’d walked in on our afternoon Quake 3 frag sessions.

  24. Außenseiter

    Too bad the “we have a history, but not a present” phrase doesn’t work in Czech. One never knows when one could use a clever phrase.
    You one of those half deaf folks who has been listening to walkman since age of four?

    And to answer your question: No. I like to be discreet.

    Anyone who wants to listen to loud stupid music while drinking beer and chatting with friends is welcome to a faceful of pepper spray followed by a stun baton to his ‘nads, which is what would happen to him if he picked a fight with me.

    Remember, one should always have a plan, and a backup. If that fails, there’s always rapid tactical retrograde movement.

  25. Flanders

    Funny how conversations with Außenseiter turn violent so quickly.

  26. rich

    If you need 3rd world living conditions, rehab quality furnishings and sleep deprivation in order to write you could have just crashed at my place instead.

    Stop reading comments and get back to work, I need something to read.

  27. Außenseiter


    Violent? Who, me? I’m not violent, I merely have strong feelings about noise and jerks. They make me black out and when I wake up, there’s body parts and blood all around.

    But in between, that’s not me, that’s just my sense of humour coming awake 😉

  28. Flanders


  29. Außenseiter

    I see blaming the victim is still popular where you live 😉

  30. Nestor

    Yeah when I think “writer’s retreat” what comes to mind is something like an isolated cottage somewhere remote, maybe not luxurious but certainly silent and tranquil.

    I guess I’m just not up to date.

  31. Uplinktruck

    Now that’s funny! Good writing too.