Knock Talk: Bathroom Edition

Story By: Kris Hall, Opinion Editor

There are nine business majors at Fresno City College — but every student has major business.

There seem to be a billion different techniques to the agendum of approaching the door to the bathroom. There are a few similar branches of thought, but most of them don’t consider privacy a factor.

Do you knock before you enter a restroom? “I don’t,” says first year FCC student Angel Morillo. “I mean if it’s public,” he clarifies, “why would I knock?”

I always knock before I enter a restroom. It also seems this is a rare philosophy to have.

Kasey Duttle, an elementary education major, initially stated that she does not knock before entering a public multi-stall restroom. She said, “what if someone isn’t there and I’m just knocking away?”

In the event that you can’t discern whether or not someone is inside the stall, the courtesy knock becomes utilitarian.

The bathroom knock’s utilitarian purpose is to determine the vacancy of the stall.

If the stall is occupied, a rattled ‘don’t come in’ or ‘busy’ or my, personal favorite, ‘you’re next’ followed by subsequent yodeling will come from the other side of the door.

If you knock and are met with silence then it’s likely the stall is empty, unless there is a socially anxious occupant too figuratively tongue-tied to respond.

Duttle replied “I never thought about this until you brought it up.” Precisely why I seek to educate on this issue. I don’t believe enough people give the bathroom knock the recognition it deserves.

I contend that with more deliberation, many students will agree that the bathroom knock will improve their experiences in the restroom.

It will offer a more respectful view of a designated place of privacy that does not get enough credit in a world where privacy is in increasingly limited supply.

I knock in consideration of the privacy that the bathroom should give to its denizen while opening a line of universal communication between strangers.

Approaching the bathroom door, regardless of evidence of an occupant, I knock.

In the case that the stall is occupied, knocking gives polite notice that someone is waiting for them to relinquish the space.

Knocking gives an occupant of the restroom an opportunity to respond and make their presence known to ward off unaware invaders.

If there is no one inside, I still enter with caution.

Hannah Lieder is an FCC student who understands the plight of approaching the bathroom. “I knock. And then I reach for the handle, and then if it’s unlocked I’ll still not fully commit to opening it and I’ll check.”

My technique is to scan the stall, whether private, public or personal, to see if there is anyone with malicious intent waiting to jump me at my most vulnerable.

I would much prefer a polite knock to the anxiety that strikes me when someone jiggles the doorknob.

A jiggled doorknob has always been the precursor in my life to a malfunctioning lock that grants a door permission to open when it least benefits me.

Knock in consideration of the person inside, they came to the bathroom in search of privacy.

Whatever your plan on the can, you should be able to strategize peacefully. Anyone with a healthy mind would not wish themselves an audience while they use the bathroom.

When someone throws themself against a bathroom door in the hopes it may be open, my eyes widen in shock, my body tenses up, and my heart rate doubles in fear my private comfort is an instant away from being shattered.

Like many of us, Lieder has suffered the terrifying scenario of being walked in on.

“It’s embarrassing and it sucks but it’s my fault for not locking the door,” says Lieder.

Aleks Alikhanov is a journalism major at FCC. Like Lieder, he has also experienced being walked in on while changing and going to the bathroom.

“It’s embarrassing for both parties,” he says, “I knock to make sure no one’s in it because it’s possible that they didn’t lock the door.”

Lieder says, “some doors don’t have locks.” What can you do then?

So I, as a citizen who wants to live in a world outside of this terrifying everyday occurrence, do my part to pay it forward to any individual with the same fears as myself.

In the alternative to knocking, you either smack yourself against a locked door, you barge in on someone through a mistakenly unlocked door, or an unlocked seemingly empty room hides a ninja there to collect a bounty on your head.

Only in one last scenario, where there is an unlocked door and an empty room with no ninjas, are you able to use the bathroom in peace.

Knocking before entering the restroom is the most considerate approach to a person’s privacy.

Using the bathroom is no business but the individual’s. Knocking helps prevent bathroom use from becoming a group activity.