Posts Tagged bathroom

The new guy blues

When starting a new job, everyone wants to put their best feet forward and make the most favorable initial impressions possible.  A lot of these things are within one’s control: eye contact, displaying a genuine interest in the company/co-workers, not blasting gangsta rap, etc.  Then there are things outside of one’s control that crop up.  Unsurprisingly, I have a story from the latter category.

It was my second week on the job, and though I’m super shitty with directions, I was finding my way around the office pretty well.  It’s many times larger than my last working environment, plus there’s a bunch of construction going on that’s caused some wings to shape-shift from one day to the next.  Regardless, I was getting my bearings and feeling good about that.  I’d even settled on a bathrooming routing.  (Yes, bathrooming.  Look for it in the 2032 Olympics.)  There’s the main, multi-stall/multi-urinal bathroom by the elevators (about 85 steps from my workspace), and a small, single-user, unisex one about a third of that distance away.  My plan is simple: don’t shit in the small one.  Makes sense, right?

On this particular day, I walked over to the smaller bathroom to do my lesser business.  I went inside, locked the door, and then turned to see splashes of urine on the unlifted toilet seat.  It was already too late for me to remove myself from the situation.  Even quickly unlocking the door and leaving would still make it seem like I had been the last one to use the facility, so I was firmly entrenched in this predicament.  My options were clear: have people think that I rudely pissed on the toilet seat with no regard for others or clean up a stranger’s urine.  I kicked the seat up with my foot and thought about my options while I let loose my liquid.  I finished up and knew what I had to do.  I grabbed some toilet paper, lowered the seat, quickly wiped the inconsiderate stranger’s mess off of the seat (that never should’ve been left down in the first place), flushed my pee, his pee, and the t.p. down the toilet, and thoroughly washed my hands.  It sucked, but it’s what I had to do unless I wanted to risk having some female see me leave the bathroom, assume the rudely left urine was mine, and tell others about the asshole new guy.  I couldn’t let that happen, but the forced clean-up of some douchebag’s errant stream still left me (wait for it) a little pissed.

p.s. It only occurred to me while writing this that there was a third option I didn’t consider.  I could have put the toilet seat up, done my thing, and then left it up.  The next person might have thought I was rude for not lowering the seat, but upon lowering it herself, she would’ve known that I hadn’t been the errant pee-r.  I wouldn’t have ultimately settled on that option because I still end up looking like a minor jerk, and I’m trying to avoid that until completely necessary.

p.p.s. I couldn’t help but think of David Serdaris’ story “Big Boy” while I was in there.  If you’re familiar with that story, you probably already thought about it during this post.  If you’re not, you should be.  It’s good shit.

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Grosser than gross

banditAnd by “gross,” I wish I only meant 144.  Instead, I’m using that adjective to describe an anonymous person’s bathroom habits.  I suppose I should add a disclaimer saying that I’m going to talk about some nasty things (in case the title didn’t clue you in), but please bear in mind that reading about this unfortunate occurrence pales in comparison to actually experiencing it.

I work in a building that has one male and one female bathroom per floor.  A little while after I started, the male bathroom (which is the only one I frequent – why, what have you heard?) started to get noticeably messier.  This meant more than one’s fair share of willy-nilly urinating, forgotten flushes, and balled-up paper towels thrown on the floor in a corner where apparently people thought a trashcan should be.  It’s not a huge bathroom (three urinals and two stalls), so this made a big difference in my use of the facilities.

After several complaints, two main changes were made.  First, a small trashcan was placed in the aforementioned corner.  Second, the door’s hardware was changed so as to require a code.  Why’s that?  Because the prevailing theory on the increased messiness was that people from other floors were coming to ours to relieve themselves.  (That’s because we routinely saw people we didn’t recognize leave the bathroom and walk over to the elevator.  Those are some crazy detective skills, I know.)

For a while, everything got better.  The new trashcan was being used, and I stopped having to peer into a stall to check for collateral damage before entering to do business of my own.  Then it happened.  I was standing at the left-most urinal one morning when I noticed something on the wall right in front of me.  “Is that…a booger?” I wondered (possibly aloud).  Yes, yes it was. I know this because there were two or three more next to it on the wall as well, and they all looked exactly like you would expect.  “That’s disgusting!” I thought or said. 

Over the course of the next several months, The Booger Bandit struck again and again.  I’d guess about once every week or two.  It’s possible that it happened more often but was taken care of by the cleaning crew that tidies up throughout the day.  I don’t know why I’d never brought it up to my co-worker Rob, but I did one day after I was pushed too far.  Smeared boogers near my face while I’m dealing with a variety of bathroom smells is one thing, but when they’re also tinged with blood, I’m compelled to speak.  (Yes, I’m well aware of how gross that is.  That disclaimer’s making even more sense now, eh?)   “Hey Rob,” I said, “Have you ever noticed that someone appears to be wiping boogers right above the urinal?”  “Yes!” he said, with the kind of happy relief normally reserved for people realizing that they’re not crazy.  (“You hear those whispers too?  Thank the lord!”)  “What’s wrong with that guy?” I asked.  He had no answer, but I kept going: “I guess I can almost understand it happening once.  Let’s say you’re peeing, and you have one of those kinda sharp boogers up high in your nostril and you just have to get rid of it.  You do, but then you realize that you have nowhere to put it.  So there you are, your dick in one hand, and a booger in the other.  Forced to make a choice, you smear it on the wall in front of you.  Maybe you meant to clean it up but forgot, maybe not.  I can buy that happening once based on a poorly-planned nose pick.  But the second time, it’s no mistake.  And every time after that, well, that’s just fucked up.”  He agreed, but seemed a little concerned that I’d put so much thought into it.

So what can I do?   I don’t think taping a sign that says, “Please don’t smear your sometimes-bloody boogers on this wall” will do anything except possibly encourage copycat Booger Bandits.  I don’t know most of the guys who regularly use the bathroom, so I can’t just slyly mention it to everyone I run into while I’m in there.  I’m at a loss, and I’d appreciate any suggestions.  All I know is that I’m fed up, and this type of behavior snot appropriate for the workplace. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

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