Diary of an Intern: Pee to procrastinate

If there is one way to procrastinate at your internship, it's by taking suspiciously frequent and curiously long trips to the bathroom. These toilet-bound sojourns allow you precious time - 15 minutes, at the very least - to run the faucet, inspect your reflection and otherwise not do work. And if there's a diaper-changing table in the handicap stall, you might even have the chance to rest your head and take a quick power nap!

The best part of my summer internship was when the restroom "exploded" - I love how this is a catchall phrase for the dissolution of toilets - and we all were forced to use facilities on alternate floors of the building. Rejoice! Now the simple act of relieving oneself - previously capped at 20 minutes, lest one affect a debilitating (and preciously time-consuming!) case of colitis - could stretch to a generous half-hour of elevator rides and stair climbing. (This posed a problem only when I actually had to use the bathroom. Waiting on the ninth floor for an elevator after consuming four cans of Diet Coke is not pleasant.)

Truly, the distance to the employee restroom will assume increasing importance as your internship progresses. With any luck, the nearest toilet will be 100 feet down the hall, remotely located by the stairwell. (Congressional interns have the ultimate advantage in this situation. When I worked on the Hill, the bathroom was so far away that writing constituent letters instead seemed sort of appealing.)

A reasonable person will excuse himself to the facilities twice in one day. That's 40 minutes shaved from your workday! If you wish to waste even more time but are wary of arousing suspicion, consider that the adult diaper business rings up $4 billion in annual sales. (Only for The Eagle would I google "adult diapers" in the Anderson Computer Lab.) Clearly hyperactive bladder disorder is a problem for millions of silent victims.

Sure, those contributing to the booming adult diaper business are mostly the elderly and those with Adult Baby Syndrome. (Yes, I also googled "baby fetish.") But there 's no reason why you can't suffer from general incontinence, too. Just explain the situation to your boss and be free to procrastinate in the bathroom as long as you please.

To my dismay, the bathroom at my current internship requires a key that hangs from a hook near my boss's door. The very jingling of that key signals to everyone in the office where I am going and what I am going to do. Overcome with shame, I allow myself only five minutes to dilly-dally before returning to work (which, should my boss be reading this, I happen to enjoy). The days of hour-long field trips to the bathroom are no more.

Limited to only two bathroom breaks a day, I had to quickly come up with some other ways to procrastinate at my internship. Here, in predictable list form, are my favorites:

1. Is your office computer acting sluggish these days? Of course it is. An easy (and tedious!) way to speed things up is to clean out Internet Explorer's history and cookies folder. There is an option to empty these folders all at once, but resist this temptation. You wouldn't want to delete something important, would you? Instead, delete each file one by one. The amount of time wasted by this process is, to say the least, profound.

2. Untangle all the phone cords in the office. This is actually sort of fun. And when you're done with that, move on to the computer wires behind your desk.

3. Give yourself a manicure using the end of an undone paper clip. You deserve it!

4. Alphabetize all the icons on your Windows desktop-manually.

5. The ultimate way to procrastinate: Google "how to procrastinate." With almost 1,000 hits at your fingertips, it will be quitting time before you know it.

Michael Vallebuona is a senior journalism and CLEG major. Diary of an Intern runs every Thursday.


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