Potty Locks

Janina Stajic

Columnist

Monday, May 6 2013

If you’re a regular ferry goer like myself - and female -- then you’ll have been following, the saga that’s been happening in the women’s bathroom. I’m not talking about the gaggle of teenage girls who huddle around the bathroom mirror, giggling while they put on make-up (they’re quite delightful), and I’m certainly not referring to something that requires using ‘potty talk’ to explain. I’m talking of the saga of the stall locks and how it’s been an engineering challenge to make the doors actually, well, lock. First we had a standard lock - a circular ‘knob’ which one turns and the door locks. Well, the ferry’s vibrations had the effect of slowly unlocking the lock until, pop, at the most inopportune time the door would swing open. The solution? Add an extra lock! So an extra lock, a long brass hook that attached to a piece on the side of the stall, was placed just above the circular lock. The first time I tried to use this I was confused, because the hook part didn’t actually fit into its other half. So I locked the circular look, balanced the hook on its attachment and, ahem, waited. I couldn’t believe what happened next. Sure enough, the circular hook gave way, but as the door swung open BAM the hook fell into its attachment piece and the door stayed shut. I guess not everyone figured out this rather unintuitive system as a few weeks later those long hooks had been replaced with carefully positioned deadbolts - but they don’t lock the door. They lock the circular lock! First one locks the door with the circular lock. THEN one pushes the deadbolt over to hold that circular lock in place. It must be the only system of its kind and I look forward to the next inSTALLment of this continuing saga.