As I see it the stop at the men’s room

is of a piece with the morning’s work, a chore

like the other administrative chores I am responsible for, and

therefore, though it obviously doesn’t help the library administration, it

is part of my job in a way that the

lunch hour of sunlight, sidewalks and pure volition is not.

The library pays me to make six visits a day

to the men’s room — three in the morning, and three

in the afternoon: my work is segmented by stops in

this tiled decompression chamber to urinate on a deodorant cake.


Paraphrases from the novel The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker.