Five Questions with… The Bathroom Keys

Every one of our clients needs something different–one person needs a comprehensive e-commerce system, one needs a script for an internal video, another needs a complete overhaul of their website and branding. But one thing that almost all of our clients ask for when they come to our office is to use the bathroom. In our building, for security reasons, that requires the use of a key. Our keys rest steadfast and ready on a nail in the wall of our office, and although they take their job very seriously, they’re not above a little levity now and again.

MC: On a scale of one to ten, how satisfied are you with your function?

BATHROOM KEYS: If I say “10,” I’m going to sound like a liar, so I’ll say “8,” but understand that the 8 feels like a 10. When you’re a set of keys, like I am, the thing you want most from existence is to be useful, and by that I mean you want to be used. Keys to safe deposit boxes and hope chests in the attics of old mansions may have a sort of enigmatic cache about them, but they’ll get used maybe once or twice a year. Everybody needs to use the bathroom.

MC: Which do you consider your more natural environment–the office where you hang most of the time, or the bathroom that you visit only occasionally?

BK: I’ve been left in the bathroom a few times, accidentally, and each time it’s felt something like a spiritual experience. You sit there, forgotten, and you take in the gleaming fluorescent lights and the clean white tile, the giant mirror above the sinks. To you, I’m sure it’s just another room, and probably not one you treat with much respect. But when you’re my size and you’re responsible for allowing entrance into the room, it’s a bit like a cathedral. No joke. That said, though, nobody lives in a cathedral. So my nail on the wall is probably more what you’d consider “natural.”

MC: The nail is a fairly recent development. Before that, you used to sit in a drawer in one of the filing cabinets. What prompted the change?

BK: It’s half convenience and half aesthetics. When I was in the drawer, members of the office staff would often have to direct a guest to exactly where I was located, sometimes even retrieving me themselves. It was inefficient. Now that I’m by the door, I really can’t be missed. Also, the walls and furniture of this room are primarily earth tones. The neon blue and pink help add a touch of style, like a lapel corsage, to the environment.

MC: Speaking of the blue and pink cables [to differentiate between the mens' and womens' restrooms]…do you ever worry that you’re perpetuating outmoded gender stereotypes?

BK: Aha! I was wondering when we’d get around to this. I’ve had a lot of time to consider this idea and for now, at least, you’re going to have to accept the canned response I’ve come up with. Basically: I’m a set of keys. I have no political agenda save that which is foisted upon me by my owners and users. And even if I wanted to try and change up the status quo–perhaps by switching the colors, or trying different, less stigmatized colors–I’m not a revolutionary. My colors won’t change, in essence, until society is willing to change them.

MC: Last question, and it’s kind of a deep one. Let’s say that the building is remodeled and the doors are changed on the restrooms, meaning that you no longer function as you have been. What would you want to do with your existence after that?

BK: You weren’t kidding. That’s not just deep, that’s the Mariana Trench. Perhaps I could do what most abandoned keys do, and go find a nice stretch of sidewalk far away from here, where I will be picked up and puzzled over by somebody who collects lost keys. Or perhaps I can be tossed into the bottom of the lake, for a scuba diver to find, and wonder if I fit a chest of Spanish doubloons elsewhere in the lake. But I think what I’d really like is for some six year-old, burgeoning art student, to krazy-glue me and as many other keys as he or she could find into some kind of key collage, representative of all the locked doors waiting to be unlocked–in life, in the world at large, and inside one’s own psyche and soul.

MC: Well. Ask a deep question, get a deep answer.

BK: What were you expecting? Toilet humor?

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