I love you, cubicles!

Where would I be without the humble cubicle? Be it toilet or changing cubicle, this simple cuboid with ill-fitting door and essential locking mechanism is often all that stands between me and a screaming exit.

The times I have sat there on the toilet seat, resting my head in my hands as I wonder how on earth I am ever going to be able to unlock the door and go back to the throng. Or in the shop, aware of the brief but blessed interlude to be had from pretending to try on clothes so I can avoid People.

Toilets are always better. You definitely have a lockable door and people don't like to ask why you took so long. Also they are sweetly anonymous so that anyone coming in and out of the main room has no idea who you are, whereas changing rooms tend to be patrolled a little better, in case you are stealing something or have died, mid-pants-leg-change.

Oh toilets, how I love them! Besides their obvious use, they are so full of the promise of solitude, of beneficial and chosen isolation. They have a seat to sit on, a big door, toilet paper in case you need to have a little cry or to finally blow your nose in the way you have been desperate to all day but couldn't because it's rude.

They have a barrier between you and the world outside, even if that world is three feet away and desperate for you to come out so they can go in. They have enough room to move about in case you need to do some restricted star jumps to loosen up or some subtle yoga. They even have running water, in case you are planning a really long break.

Best of all you can go on your phone, once you have recovered a little, and message your real friends on Facebook about how awful it's all been and how you knew you shouldn't have come and how they won't believe what you have been through.

Finally, you do have to leave. The difficult moment when you unlock the door, the pit of your stomach churning up the day-so-far into a metaphor of loneliness in a crowd.

And then you emerge, victorious in your bravery, a little more able to cope than when you went in and with the knowledge that you are strong enough to leave when you need to, and next time by the front door.

Or the fire exit behind the umbrella plant.


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