Saturday 25 June 2016

Checked On a Regular Basis by Ed Broom

You’ll always remember how much water that waterless urinal saves and you’ve calculated that this JetFlow is due to be retested in 137 days yet your hands still aren’t dry.

Your gaze glides towards the “washroom attendance sheet” housed in a silver-effect frame as if it were a child’s ballet certificate. You admire the brazen display of calligraphy, particularly the black Sharpie certainty of the mid-morning entries from “Val” with her at-the-third-stroke timings of Mon 10:09, Tue 10:37 and Wed 10:23. You flick your fingers like a pair of exasperated glove puppets, tug the weighty door and return to queue at the counter.

Your phone stays silent – nearly quarter to eleven and not a peep from the garage – and you’re aware of the draught caused by the arrival of a crash-helmeted security gorilla. You’re impressed that, thanks to the efficiency of the 13-year-old masquerading as the branch manager, the guard is in and out with the cashbox in a trice. You grab a stirrer for your third cup of coffee when you spot that the corner table, your corner table, is newly wiped.

“All yours!” beams the lady.

You feel the teensiest bit starstruck when you glimpse “Val” on her badge and you find yourself holding the chill pencil of milk to your warm cheek.

You’re wondering what’s involved in a 12,000-mile service when your Spidey sense detects the entrance of a leather-jacketed man. You watch him detour past the counter and slalom through the seats towards the gents, close to Val, Val who greets everyone but not this individual. You’re surprised to see him reappear a few seconds later clutching what looks like a Biro and leaving through the automatic door.

Your car finally ready and your sixth-drink-is-free loyalty card filling up nicely, you edge around the cautionary yellow obelisk to pay one last visit to the freshly mopped facilities. Your eye can’t help but Exocet in on the updated wallchart where, even though your mobile states that it’s very nearly midday, Val has entered a last-inspected time of Thu 10:44.

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