I have to confess that I'm an almost insatiably curious person. I wonder about almost everything. If there was a curious-people anonymous I'd have to be there. My friends would have committed me a long time ago. I try to avoid Cliff Claven-ing, but sometimes when someone asks a question I just have to answer it. I can't control it. It's an addiction of sorts. Oh well ...
I've wondered for a while why the coat hooks are always missing in airport bathroom stalls. Could it be that there is some strange organization that collects these? Are they like little, free souvenirs that people like to take home? "Check it out honey! O'hare, terminal two, the hidden men's behind Starbucks at gate 37D! THE FIRST STALL!" "OOOO ... that's better than the new Indianapolis, terminal gallery women's stall 3 I got last week!"
Like I said, I'm curious (and my curiosity tends to like time to run around a little in my mind collecting interesting explanations and there are few places where this can happen for longer than in a stall in an airport bathroom during one of those all too brief moments of solitude while I'm on the continuum between origination and destination). So when I got to the airport this morning and went to (insert your favorite euphemism here) go potty and closed the stall door and went to hang my jacket up only to find the hook was missing I pondered again ... Is it one person collecting these from everywhere or is it an underground organization? Do they put little cameras in there when they take the hooks out? Are they weirdoes who like to watch people in the bathroom? (I've checked. There are no cameras. I've read a lot of spy books on the road so I know how to check too!)
While I was sitting and pondering someone "checked in" next door. Usual sounds, trying to figure out how to fit person, suitcase, briefcase, coffee, obligatory bag of food, magazines, etc., into less than one square foot behind the door that inexplicably swings IN to the stall. Then hanging the jacket. WAIT - HE'S Got a hook! They haven't gotten it yet! Hm .. maybe it's that I have a weird case of no-hook-luck? Is this a syndrome? I wonder if you can bet on that? Like is it a thing like Ed TV where everyone is watching and laughing when I can't find the hook? Probably not. That would be boring as hell.
He's also on the phone which I've always thought is the most interesting form of party foul. The person on the other end must be saying/thinking, "What are you doing? It sounds like you’re... uh .. how do I say it politely ... forget it ... I’ll just sit and hope it’s not what I think." "No - (flush sound from stall next door - ME! -I flush on purpose when someone is on the phone) - I don’t really feel like Thai food tonight sweetheart” - Flush sound again from ‘flushman’ - “huh? Oh, uh, I’m, uh .. (BUSTED! Flush) in the bathroom at the airport.” “Ah common, don’t make me (FLUSH) ... “Crap.” “Ok I’ll call you back...” If you're ever on the phone with me and you need to go let's just hang up and you can call me back.
Then, it happens! I hear this strange sort of scratch - creak sound. He can’t be stealing the hook? Can he? "Uh ... No", he sort of grunt moans and then, the unmistakable sound of metal giving way and nylon or leather sliding on metal, grunt, FART, lunge, crash, ... His briefcase hits the ground, thud, (He hung his briefcase on the hook? What an idio... ) then I hear it hit the ground and I briefly see it under the stall, THE HOOK, screws still in it, before he reaches down and picks it up and for a moment, you know what? He was saying and doing and thinking the same thing. That’s not easy for a man...
I’m not sure this explains all hook vanishings. But that said, it explains a lot. One less thing to ponder I guess.