Having just marathoned through six seasons of Lost in nine days, I’ve begun noticing odd behavior quirks. Though I’m not typically a fan of self-diagnosing psychological neuroses, I have what can best be described as “Lost Paranoia.” When you spend days at a time with nothing much besides that volcano of a show spewing conspiracy theories and plot twists, you start to get a little schizophrenic. I completely lost track of time in the “real world,” forgetting what day of the week it was and forgetting whether events happened yesterday or the day before. Considering most of Lost is told in flashbacks and out-0f-time sequences, my own sense of the linear world was disintegrating.

It got even worse during the few times I left my apartment in the last week. I started to see things and people. Recurrent themes from a TV show were actually recurring in my own life…or so I thought. I started seeing characters from the show wandering around the streets. A bald man sitting across the table from me became Locke and warranted a double-take before my rational mind took over. I started seeing the familiar numbers everywhere (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42). Every mundane object or action in my life seemed to be imbued with hidden meaning. Though I wouldn’t say I was really in danger of losing my touch with reality, my mind was constantly racing, searching for answers and clues to common threads.

Now that I’ve finished the show and had a few hours to recuperate, I believe I’ll make a full recovery. I’ve made my peace with the show’s constant plot twists, jerking the audience around like the passengers on Flight 815. I am almost absolutely certain that I would not have been able to stand the anticipation waiting weeks or months between episodes. I still think watching all of Lost all at once is the best way to experience it. Just note the danger in coming too close to total immersion.

What do you do when you encounter a bathroom sign like this? At the very least, I could make out that WC meant restroom, but for which gender was this designated?

Now you may ask whether I could determine gender by comparing the image of the androgynous  child to the image on the other door, but there is no other door. The two restrooms at this restaurant were in separate sides of the building. With no reference point, I could only try to translate “Vomini.” I was at an Italian restaurant, so I figured maybe “men” would be something like the Spanish hombre, but my meager experience in Romance languages proved unhelpful. A Google search for “vomini” only turned up oddly gender-neutral results.

Well, when in doubt, just do the visual spot check. I peaked inside looking for the familiar urinal for confirmation. Instead, I find another unique feature. There was one enclosed stall with a toilet, and next to it was another toilet with no stall or door at all. What do you make of that? Well this didn’t look like a single-occupancy, after all, there are two toilets. But who would sit on the toilet with no door with a clear view to the sink?

I acknowledge that classier places don’t like to have the clear and ambiguous stick figure with the caption “MEN.” But there are plenty of ways to indicate which gender belongs in this bathroom without the familiar blue sign. If it’s a unisex bathroom, then might as well invite everyone. Either label it plainly “RESTROOM” or put up one of these amusing signs to invite the whole family.

And as far as the poor quality photo, the restaurant was also exceedingly dark, which made the gender confusion all the more prominent.


Edit: My co-editor has brought to my attention that I had an Indiana Jones moment. ”Dammit, in Latin, Jehovah starts with an ‘Y’.”
Uomini means men, but they spelled it with a ‘v’ because, well, it’s Latin.