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Game of Thrones: The unofficial campus comfort room review

We have taken the time to take a look at the comfort rooms from each building to see how they stack up and if they are as glamorous and iconic as the buildings that they reside in. 

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UST CR Review
Artwork by Tricia Jardin

The buildings of the University of Santo Tomas are truly great feats of architecture, representing different generations and trends in design and engineering. With the history and the recognition behind these buildings, students that come out of them are expected to have the same prestige. It would probably be impossible however, to hold the same poise if nature’s callings ring you up in the middle of your day.

We have taken the time to take a look at the comfort rooms from each building to see how they stack up and if they are as glamorous and iconic as the buildings that they reside in. 

The criteria we carefully crafted for this involve three areas: cleanliness, facilities, and overall comfort. Cleanliness is a no-brainer as a filthy comfort room is something that no one wants to have to deal with whether man or woman. Facilities on the other hand, involve what they actually have to offer apart from the throne and the sink. Lastly, comfort is based on whether we wouldn’t mind staying a bit for that thorough “comfort” or we would simply be rushing to get out as soon as we get our callings answered.

St. Raymund de Penafort Building

St. Raymund de Penafort Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

This comfort room in St. Raymund’s matches the classic aesthetic of the building itself. While clean, it certainly shows its age from the way the lights look to the way it feels when you’re inside it. No bidets or Vendo machines are found in this restroom. It’s certainly not a place you’ll want to sit in for some alone time, but it gets the job done for sure.

St. Raymund de Penafort Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

Like the men’s, this restroom resonates with the classical-inspired design of the building. It is well-maintained and somehow clean with bidets to use. It is not spacious as one can imagine but can definitely help you out in times of emergency, if need be.

 

UST Tan Yan Kee Student Center

UST TanYanKee Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Every Thomasian has had at least one thing to do inside the Tan Yan Kee Student Center. A part of this experience perhaps, is a trip to their restroom. The restrooms in the Tan Yan Kee Student Center follows suit with the rest of the vibe of the building itself. While a little crammed, especially for larger groups, it certainly is clean and comfortable enough to provide a quick and quiet space to mind one’s personal business.

UST TanYanKee Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

This comfort room in Tan Yan Kee Student Center offers a simple and comfortable place students could go to whenever they need to use a toilet. It has few cubicles yet all are clean. The facilities are satisfactory and sinks are well-maintained as well. However, there are no Vendo machines nor bidets for this restroom. But in times you badly need to respond to the calling, well this place shall be your go-to.

 

UST Miguel de Benavides Library

UST Library CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

Overall Rating: NO

The UST Miguel de Benavides Library is as historic as the university itself. Housing rare documents from history as well as useful references for students, the main library serves as the one of the main studying spots for Thomasians. The comfort room of the Main Library offers Vendo machines which are nice and the walls and floors are pretty clean too. One downside though, is stepping into the cubicles you will find writings on the doors as well as the toilet itself which possibly could be as old as the library.

UST Library Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

Despite not having a spacious setting, the comfort room can still attend to one’s agenda. The room is clean and simple. The ambience is somehow not that perfect, and you might find yourself waiting in a queue since there are only a few cubicles available inside. The toilets are neat as well – something preferable to sit on for a short period of time.

 

St. Martin De Porres Building

St. Martin de Porres Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

The restroom is very noticeably crammed with the lighting being a little on the darker side which matches the ambience of the building itself. Cleanliness is not a shortcoming for sure as the bathroom was neat and free from any unusual smell. While it’s certainly not the embodiment of comfort with its slightly darker lighting, it definitely doesn’t give discomfort to whoever decides to use it.

St. Martin de Porres Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

St. Martin de Porres Building belongs to the list of the oldest structures in the campus. While spacious, it also holds a very simple and classic design. The entire area is clean and well-lit making the room more comfortable to use. This comfort room also has a vendo! So girls, if you are unprepared, then do not fret! This comfort room has got your back. 

 

Main Building

UST Main bldg Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Perhaps the most recognizable building in the university’s history, the restroom in the UST Main Building doesn’t offer anything nearly as recognizable. If anything, it carries a very simple design that can be observed with a lot of restrooms in this article. Everything you’d expect for a restroom that a lot of Thomasians and non-Thomasians would see should they have any dealings with any of the building’s offices.

UST Main bldg Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

The simplicity of the layout of the restroom bears hints on what the room offers; and it is to suit the basic concerns of the users. The place is simply maintained and cleaned. Garbage cans are placed in each cubicle and the sinks are still functioning. There are no bidets as one would expect but it can still manage to attend to one’s other concerns.

 

UST Carpark & Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy Building

UST College of Accountancy Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

What is most striking about this restroom is how spacious it really is. The cleanliness is about what you’d expect but what was noticeable was how dimly lit the restroom was. There were also a lot of urinals that were non-operational but with the amount of space present and the number of urinals in the restroom, the few that were not working could easily be compensated.

UST College of Accountancy Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

With its spacious setting, this particular restroom located within the Alfredo M. Velayo building can accommodate a number of students. The mood inside is marked with a lack of cheer however it can still manage to remain comfortable as needed. Still, this restroom could as well get the job done.

 

Albertus Magnus Building

UST Albertus Magnus Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Albertus Magnus is another of UST’s historical buildings housing two colleges and the Education High School. While the population implies diversity especially in programs, the comfort rooms in Albertus Magnus can accommodate the number of students housed by the building. A con in the Albertus Magnus buildings is that there are no Vendo machines nor bidets in the restrooms. However, you can still get the job done in these comfort rooms.

UST Albertus Magnus Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: YES

The comfort room fetches the same vibe as the Albertus Magnus building has. One downside that can be seen here is its narrow aisle between the cubicles that could bring discomfort to students. Even with such, the facility remains to be well-kept. The floor is clean as well as the sinks. Some toilets need improvements and must be better cleaned, however there are few which are neat enough to use. Door locks must be taken action too.

 

Roque Ruano Building

UST Ruano Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: No

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Just beside Albertus Magnus is the Roque Ruano building for the Engineers and IICS students. The particular comfort room we had the chance of going to was rather simplistic and basic but can certainly get the job done. The spaces are adequate and the toilets are clean enough, being a place you really wouldn’t stay a little longer for but certainly not itching to get out of.

UST Ruano Female CR

Women’s 

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

This restroom follows the vibe the building holds. The entirety of the room contains some indications that the building is already old. Even so, not thinking about the age of the building, the comfort room is clean and spacious inside. The sinks are functional. The toilets are also squeaky clean enough to use! All told, the room is still a good place to go to help you out and relieve yourself.

 

Quadricentennial Pavilion

UST Qpav Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

If you could imagine what an arena comfort room would look like, you would know what the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion’s comfort room inspiration is. Wide and spacious with that “mall” ambiance, this is certainly a comfort room that guests wouldn’t mind going to. While it’s not kosher by any means, it certainly gets “comfort” right with the design and maintenance. 

UST Qpav Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: NO

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Same as the men’s, this comfort room inside the QPav is commodious and neat. It has a laid back atmosphere that reflects and gives students a feeling of staying a bit longer. The sinks, walls as well as the floor are considerably clean. The cubicles have toilets which are all kept clean with well-functioning toilet flushes just enough to get the job done for the users.

 

Beato Angelico Building

UST Beato Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Space becomes the primary shortcoming of this particular restroom in the Beato Angelico building. While the cubicles themselves were quite spacious, the urinals could be found hidden behind a wall which could have been done to compensate for the small space that the restroom could be found in.

UST Beato Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

If you would look at the building, you would think that its inside resembles the classic architecture of its facade. But you might be mistaken because the facilities inside the building are well-structured and constructed into more fancified rooms. One of these is the comfort room. The entire comfort room in the building provides a relaxing setting for students and at the same time has a great design that utters comfort and class. It also has bidets and clean toilets which you would not hesitate to sit on.

 

Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building

UST BGPOP Male CR

Men’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

Considered as one of the better if not best restrooms around the university, the BGPOP restroom provides a comfort room experience that certainly justifies one’s comfort room experience. The restroom is very clean and very spacious, good enough to have photoshoots should the need arise. Bidets are also present and even a hand-dryer. The only thing missing to make this restroom absolutely perfect is a Vendo machine but even without that, this restroom proves to be superior.UST BGPOP Female CR

Women’s

Bidet: YES

Soap: YES

Vendo: NO

From its well-designed sink to its entirety, this one is definitely the room you would think when nature calls you badly. The room is wide and well-lighted. The fresh air and sunlight that peeks through the clear panel gives the room a more comfortable ambiance. Aside from its fine interior design and well-maintained facilities, it also has bidets to offer! No wonder why this is the frequently visited comfort room for some students. It is definitely a place you wouldn’t mind sitting for a long time.

Central Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s

Bidet: YES 

Soap: NO

Vendo: NO

A clean and bright ambiance is what defines the comfort room in the Central Lab. It’s this kind of restroom that is always pleasant to go into at any time of the day. The only downside to this restroom is the lack of a soap dispenser and a Vendo machine. It makes up for this, however, by having a bidet and a hand dryer by the sink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s

BIDET: YES

SOAP: NO

VENDO: NO

The Central Laboratory’s comfort rooms have an uncanny resemblance with BGPOP’s comfort rooms except for the tiling. This one has bidets installed inside its cubicles and a hand dryer beside the sinks. However, they do not have Vendos. But still, this comfort room provides inexplicable comfort especially for those who wish to take a good long dump in after a long day at the lab.

 

What becomes most apparent when looking at all the comfort rooms the University has to offer is that they all get the job done. Never to be the highlight of the university, its comfort rooms provide and experiences that sacrifices form for the sake of function. Much of the facilities in each comfort room seek to be faithful to the historic design of the buildings themselves. While never perfect, these comfort rooms will make sure that answering nature’s calls will never be an issue, no matter where you are.

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10 things you probably have encountered in an online class

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate!

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A decade ago, suspension of classes were a big nuisance especially to the pace of the academic year. This is because we did not really have a platform that was capable of holding more than 20 persons in a call. However, with the advancement of technology, it has paved the way to conduct classes online without the fear of falling behind the schedule.

Ever since online classes have been rampant in UST, we have noticed some interesting phenomena that happens in almost every class. These vary from each situation so if you have encountered some of these, you’re most likely going to relate! The following are the 10 things you probably have encountered in an online class.

1.  A dog

Your dog or your blockmate’s dog have probably taken the spotlight in this one. Cue the “aww!”s and the “your dog is so cute!” to inform people there’s a new member in your block.

2. Some bedroom noises

These bedroom noises vary in category. It could be your newborn sibling crying in the background or your sibling groaning as they stretch before they get out of bed. It could also be your neighbour’s feel good music that’s blasting on full volume. (What did you think the noises were going to be?)

3. Your mom’s voice in the background

You’re probably familiar with the sentence, “Anak! Nakalimutan mo nanaman maghugas ng pinggan!”. This is your cue to quickly wash the dishes or to ask your brother or your sister to do it for you. Just don’t forget it the next time.

4. The sound of vehicles driving past your house

It’s 9o’clock in the morning and everyone is still sleeping. Your professor is rambling about the adjusted schedule because of the suspension of classes. Everything was silent until you hear that loud “VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM” that broke that silence you thought you had. A notification. Your blockmate typed, “Kaninong tricycle ‘yun?”.

5. The neighborhood chicken

No one in your house is awake yet to cook breakfast and you’re 10 minutes late to your online class. You’re hungry and sleepy but you are determined you’ll focus on this class you need to catch up on. You sit down with your laptop, head propped by your arm to try to stay awake. Then suddenly, you hear a faint cock-a-doodle-doo from your speaker. A notification. Your professor typed, “Guys, sorry, wag kayo mag-alala. Ipriprito ko na yun mamaya.”.

6. A comfort room break

The waterworks are on duty today but you’re unsure if your strict professor would allow you to go to the comfort room to release whatever your body needs to let go of. It’s funny how we still have to ask even when comfort is at our disposal a few steps away. Imagine what it’s like for your blockmate who often needs the toilet. 

7. Your younger sibling who keeps on crying

If it’s not your mom, it’s most likely your younger brother or sister who’s making the noise. You should probably check on them right now though. I assume they need something or someone.

8. The teleserye your lola is watching

It’s 10 in the morning and you are in your living room. Suddenly, your lola picks up the television remote control to watch her favourite teleserye. She hands you the remote control to raise the volume higher. Don’t worry. It’ll just be an hour of your time everyday. Just wear your earphones. It’ll be over soon!

9. Your blockmate who’s often M.I.A.

Better call them now. You definitely don’t want them to miss another class.

10. Conversations that are best kept on Messenger

It’s best to keep your block’s conversations in another messaging app. I know you know what I mean. 

We all have different practices in our face-to-face class as well as in online classes. However, in the midst of the distances from our second home – our school – let us not forget the reason why we do this: to learn and to later on serve our country. 

Lastly, use your time productively and don’t forget to wake up your blockmate!

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Ilaw ng Tahanan, Sagisag ng Lansangan: Rage Against Feminine Archetypes

Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

A natural beauty, she was. Daisy-fresh. Frail and delicate, with her small frame and timid silence. Her hair constantly smelled of vanilla, and she had a smile that came with her almost effortless grace. She is painfully soft-spoken. Her cheeks resembled that of the skin of a peach—supple, smooth, tinging coral. And above all that she had eyes that could lure you in. It was almost as if she knew the kind of beauty she held, but not enough to be flaunting it.

Here is an example of a misrepresented woman as shown by the ideal woman trope. In literature, we see her as Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby; in film, Summer from 500 Days of Summer. Women in fiction, yes, but still prototypes of the ideal woman, told from the account of a man, that sooner or later, serve to cater to the male gaze.

This is the feminine archetype, contemporarily known as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl or the Femme Fatale: the idea that a woman, in all her precious glory, should be of natural, flawless beauty—none of that cake on the face, none of those fillers and such. She should be modest, otherwise if she is vulgar she is an embarrassment. She should attend to her husband like a real woman, whatever that is supposed to mean, because it is her responsibility to do so. She should be dainty! If she must fix herself up she must do so without going overboard. 

But this is relevant… exactly how?

These templates of the ‘perfect woman’ teaches young girls and the children who may come to identify as girls, beyond reasonable standards to live up to, furthermore decentering from their freedom of expression and identity. Comical as it seems, it has become so indoctrinated in the narrative of what it means to be a woman, that essentially it has become a means to favor and please the men in our society—to put it simply, the feminine archetype is a catalyst for the patriarchy.

This continues to be a challenge for contemporary feminists as it has been for their predecessors. Years upon years of uprisings and nth wave feminism movements helped established the New Woman, who, on this day and age, in contrast to the feminine archetype, is no longer soft-spoken, doe-eyed, or motherly—but resisting, self-sustaining, and non-conforming. She is tenacious, and is unafraid to bring her revolution to the streets, like all other female activists that preceded, but the objective is not to discredit them.

This is to introduce an entirely new breadth of feminists who willingly engage in activism in and out of the streets, who challenge the still-in-existence feminine archetype, who fight against those who continue to disparage women, and most importantly, to empower those who need empowering. Women and their eagerness to champion equal rights have prevailed even in social media platforms—a brand new kind of solidarity that cuts through the one-dimensionality of the digital world, which is now without limitation in addressing a variety of sociopolitical issues.

The feminine archetype is but a small part of a bigger issue that continues to misrepresent women as charming, frail, and subordinate—much like in movies and literature—which in turn contributes to, and may even elevate to a great deal of oppression and abuse. Once we value other women as much as we do those in our lives, once we acknowledge that some women might not even be female at birth, and that some may not even appear to be women, we perpetuate intersectionality and a mindset that more often than not, empowerment is more important than power.

 

Happy Women’s month to the cis-females, the transwomen, those who identify as women, women of color, female activists, women who were rape and sexual abuse victims, women who are victims of social injustices, comfort women, and all the other women in the world.

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A Weekend Dive Into the Abyss: Art Fair Philippines 2020

This year, the exhibit showcased a wide range of local and international contemporary art that were more than just eye candy.

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Onib Olmedo's “Triumph of Everyman” on display at Art Fair PH 2020

With the Philippines being a cultural hotspot, Art Fair Philippines returned on its 8th year to gather local and international artists, curators, and enthusiasts to celebrate appreciation for the arts. This year, the exhibit showcased a wide range of local and international contemporary art that were more than just eye candy.

I, for one, am not the best critic nor an enthusiast of art. As an art novice, I generally enjoy it for the aesthetics and calming ambience it exudes when hung on a wall or placed on a coffee table. Other than that, I had no idea how a Picasso differed from a Monet, or how oil differed from acrylic.

Since it was my first time attending an art exhibit, navigating myself through the maze was quite the ordeal. But then I noticed that each piece was set up without a definite path to follow and, at some point, I even found myself getting lost in a simple painting of a beach. Maybe that feeling of getting lost is also part of the beauty that art brings. With every artwork giving me a unique cultural narrative and experience, I left the exhibit with the insatiable curiosity on what other stories and emotions can the growing local art scene continue to unfold.

From February 21 to 23, Art Fair Philippines once again opened its doors to thousands of local art-goers that share the same passion and interest for art. As part of this year’s special project, each floor welcomed its visitors to Sol LeWitt’s texted-based art, “Wall Drawing #1217”, that was loaned out by his estate. The text, “These words are written on the wall”, was inscribed in four different languages: English, Filipino, M’ranaw, and Baybayin. New York-based curator Carina Evangelista says that these four iterations were meant to “illustrate the Philippines as a culture that’s polyglot ”. But most of all, this served a commitment to the late artist’s artistic principle whose craft was built on “the democratic hand” that gives people the liberty to draft his works on any wall in the world.

The amount of talent showcased in this year’s exhibit was overflowing, to say the least. But here are some of the many pieces that I believe have left a powerful impression on everyone that visited.

“Triumph of Everyman” by Onib Olmedo

“Triumph of Everyman” by Onib Olmedo

This year’s run continued the tradition of featuring projects made by established contemporary Filipino artists. Though all the pieces displayed in this space were evocatively abstract, it was Onib Olmedo’s “Triumph of Everyman” that caught my attention. Spread out on the green walls of the room was a compendium of his sketches that depicted the Filipino everyman’s inner reality and turmoil. The same way each face is different, Olmedo’s portraits reveal different facets of the human self. Rather than appearing symmetrical, the inner self and its realities were depicted in its purest and most vulnerable form: faces that were obscured with eyes giving out a penetrating gaze to show a state of distress, instability, and crisis. It was a haunting yet cathartic experience that gave me an in-depth understanding of the human psyche through strokes and shades on paper.

“Tuko” by Salvador Joel Alonday

“Tuko” by Salvador Joel Alonday (Photo by Marcianne Gaab)

Another noteworthy piece from the exhibit’s projects was this part human, part animal terra cotta and kaolin clay sculpture. Rather than merely sculpting a larger-than-life reptile, Salvador Joel Alonday’s molded his visual idiom through a human seemingly morphing into its animagus—the house gecko. Though small in size, house geckos assert their dominance in household as they tower over everyone from the ceilings and walls that they stick to. Similarly, “Tuko” portrays man’s tendency to succumb to this reptilian nature of being territorial and aggressive.  At this time of societal pandemonium, Alonday’s creation greatly mirrors how a number of politicians and religious leaders are lazily sat on their comfortable seats at the top of the food chain while their constituents are struggling for a democratic and just life under their mandate. While we grapple for coexistence, our society’s “tukos” will continue to prey on our fears and weaknesses.

“Opera – Screaming Faces” by Gabriel Barredo (Silverlens)

“Opera – Screaming Faces” by Gabriel Barredo (Silverlens) | Photo by Marcianne Gaab

This art piece was a visual feast difficult not to miss because I had to admit, it was relatable. The large-scale theatrical art piece that featured rows of 39,000 miniature screaming faces was a small fraction of the late Gabriel Barredo’s massive installation. The UST alumnus & sculptor, who was known for amalgamations of the macabre and the beautiful, wanted to each screaming face to portray the endless scream we constantly go through in life. True to the ethos of his craft, it was a very immersive experience. It was as though I could hear the faces actually screaming. And it felt like for every step I took to look closer, the screaming grew louder.

“Look at Her” by Nikki Luna

“Look at Her” by Nikki Luna | Photo by Marcianne Gaab

This piece by artist and activist Nikki Luna was a head turner for anyone who went to the fair. At first glance, it looked like an ordinary mirror to take that obligatory mirror selfie with. But embossed in bold font were the words, “As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases”. Sound familiar? Well, it’s just one of the many misogynistic remarks pulled out from the incumbent president. In contrast to bright colors and thick strokes, this was a simple and minimalistic piece that carried a powerful message. Standing in front of the mirror with these words written on gave not only a reflection but an emphasis on how rape and sexual violence continue to be normalized in this hedonistic culture. Perhaps, Luna used a mirror to purposely invite its viewers for a photo not as an addition to your feed aesthetic but as a call of action to not tolerate this utterly abhorrent and toxic culture.

 “Karnebal” by Max Balatbat

“Karnebal” by Max Balatbat | Photo by Marcianne Gaab

Stepping into the room with black wall and small statues felt like I was in a trance. At the corners and the center, stood 3 sculptures of young girls selling sampaguita with their underwear pulled down almost at their feet. These creations of Max Balatbat accentuate the toxic and alarming reality of rape culture that even the most helpless and vulnerable young girls, who struggle to get by with a decent livelihood, get raped and murdered.  It was also striking how the top half of their faces were carved into a merry-go-round rather than eyes. Perhaps, this was a way of the artist telling how these inhumane acts that are repeatedly done go unnoticed.

 

My first time at an art exhibit was quite overwhelming, but every turn and every corner still had its own provoking surprise. Every visual channel in the exhibit carried their own impression of life that deeply resonated with me. When words fell short, art and all its complexities spoke. It is astounding what visual art can do and how it transcends beyond skill and technique. The artworks and the artists led me to have a momentous experience that at the end of the day, I forgot that I was in a multi-story car park.

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