*Name has been changed.
My favourite Nanaimo diner finally completed renovations to their lavatory. I use the word finally, because from my very first visit 3 years ago, the out of order sign on the stall and the plastic covering over one of the urinals have been familiar, permanent fixtures.
Since this is a blog about bathrooms, I won’t delve too deeply into Jojo’s quality as a food-serving establishment; but it’s important to make a few notes about the diner in relation to it’s recent restroom modifications.
For many people across a variety of demographics, Jojo’s is a great “go-to” for a reasonably priced meal or a low-key cup of coffee with their friends. There is no wait to be seated, and there aren’t any of the awkward “social” interactions with servers you’d encounter at other restaurants. Waking up in the afternoon after a long night of heavy liquor consumption and starving for some quick, greasy breakfast? Jojo’s. Looking for a great rendezvous spot where you can speak your mind without the worry of irritating the next table? Jojo’s. Need to vent over coffee about your roommate’s annoying chill-step trap music blaring through your wall? Jojo’s.
Much of the diner’s charm is directly related to this sense of informality: An environment which carries conventional restaurant vibes, but somehow seems more inviting. Overall, Jojo’s feels well worn-in, like your favourite pair of comfy sweatpants. But just as those cozy culottes probably aren’t perfect for a public outing, Jojo’s bathroom hasn’t always been the best for “doing your business.” There are some skid marks here.
Located down a flight of stairs and past a few oddly placed coin-operated candy machines, the restroom hides in the basement of the building, sharing the floor with a night club.
Now, like I said before, Jojo’s is my favourite Nanaimo Diner, and I commend their efforts on making some long-overdue repairs. Whatever the reasons may have been for preventing them, they finally saw it through and spruced the place up. Somewhat.
Still remaining is a chemical scent that feels heavy in your nostrils. The kind of smell that makes you wonder how long ago they bleach-cleaned the crime scene and found all the shards of skull hidden like easter eggs around the room. It’s not an entirely unpleasant scent, but it’s not exactly fresh.
The urinal situation isn’t the worst I’ve encountered, with a total of four available for your selection— now with the added bonus of them all being fully operational. The previous urinal, covered by some sort of cellophane, has been replaced. It makes me wonder about how thick the gloves must have been needed for the person who removed it. The dried accumulation of splashback from its neighbours over the years must have made for layers of leopard-print piss on crumpled plastic.
The floors in this bathroom are tiled in the way I’d imagine the shower area of an extremely low-end brothel to be. (-er, yeah! how I’d imagine one to be..)
This wouldn’t be much an issue if they could find a way to make all the white grooves between the tiles match the occasional brown and pink stains. Maybe they could do a Neapolitan ice-cream theme for their floors.
As for the stalls, well, one is still out of order. This stall of mystery is perpetually locked and closed for business. Something tells me that there are things inside that should never be seen. Then again, the stall next to it is the one that gets the traffic, and I’ve seen some things inside that have almost made me lose the breakfast I just ate upstairs.
Okay, it’s not that bad. Certainly not third-world country bad. And better than an outhouse by a few degrees. The toilet has always flushed, and the paper has always been stocked. Various etchings of stall graffiti occasionally make their appearance, but nothing interesting enough to dull the frightening feeling that a large man might break through the door at any time, easily snapping the wobbly silver lock and familiarizing himself with your molars.
Ultimately, this place serves its purpose. And like any public space designed for excretion, it will never be perfect. I’ve visited this restroom countless times, and I still haven’t contracted anything. One time I even neglected to put toilet paper down on the seat, and I’ve never noticed any sort of rash or infection. At least none on my ass cheeks or thighs.
It would be surprising to find a slick, polished, upper-class lavatory from a place like Jojo’s. It doesn’t try to impress you, and it doesn’t need your approval. Some handles on the faucets would be appreciated, though.
Toilet Paper Roll Rating: 2 / 5