Sunday, November 1, 2009

Potty Time

I thought I had said all there was to say about restrooms and the etiquette therein, but like many things in this life, as soon as I thought I was out of things to go crazy about, I discovered several more. I am reminded on a daily basis about the incredibly strange, gross, and bizarre bathroom behavior that exists everywhere.

The fear of Swine Flu has helped drill this home for me.

We are at a point in our societal history where we have used up all excuses for not washing our hands. If you have an elementary school diploma and you did not grow up in the jungle, you should be aware of the fact that hand washing involves soap, water, and some vigorous scrubbing.

Not, as some people seem to think, water and some weak shaking of the hands.

People pretty much fit into 1 of the following 3 categories.

1. The Scrubber. This should be everybody, but unfortunately it is not. This individual uses soap and water to cleanse their hands of the filth that has been accumulated between the last hand washing and the present one because the bathroom is not the only place you can pick up germs.

2. The Faker. This person is either too lazy to really wash their hands and wants you to believe they did, or they honestly believe that a quick rinse under the faucet is enough to get rid of the germs. This is also probably the same individual who uses the 35 second rule for dropped food and believes you can get 2 uses out of a pair of underwear between washes.

3. The Balls Out Villain. No soap, no faking, no cares. This human has no need to make anyone believe anything. They ignore germs. They also intentionally park in handicapped spots and most likely punch pandas.

I have also noticed that many people see nothing wrong with bringing a food item into the restroom. I am so completely baffled by this that I can barely bring myself to write about it. I find this to be a grave sin.

The bathroom is a place of leaving behind. There is nothing in the bathroom that you should take with you. Even those fancy bathrooms that offer up candy and Tic Tacs are suspect. I am not a proponent of buying a pack of Juicy Fruit that spent a half a day sitting in a room full of toilets.

Nor should you bring anything out that you have put down in the bathroom. If it touches the counter, or really anything in that room, you should either throw it out or immediately light it on fire. No questions asked.

I mean seriously people, you bring your tuna sandwich or whatever it is into the grossroom (its original name but changed to restroom in 1847) and then place it on the sink. THE SINK! Of all the places the sink is where people rinse the germs off their hands without soap and then shake them around like a cootie sprinkler so those germs are everywhere and not washed safely down the drain like they should be.

Next are those individuals who feel the need to flush the urinal before peeing. Flushing a toilet before going number 2 I can understand. If the previous train has not left the station before yours is about to pull in, that makes sense.

But the urinal? Why are you flushing? Do you have issues with peeing in dirty water? Do you find it offensive sir? Do you require a receptacle full of clean water to pee in? If this is the case, then I am going to insist you stay the hell away from the water cooler.

It does make me laugh though, the urgency which people actually go into the restroom. If I am washing my hands and someone practically jogs into the restroom, I kind of chuckle to myself and think, yea, I've been there before friend.

But if I am in a stall, and I hear somebody stride briskly into the bathroom towards my direction, I feel like they are going to kick in the door like I am running a meth lab on an episode of COPS.

Again, somebody hustled into the bathroom while I was in the stall recently and I braced myself for impact. But he veered into the stall next to me. Even though he could have been one stall down, he chose the one directly next to me.

He then proceeded to pull toilet paper frantically from the roll for no less than 15 seconds. To the best of my knowledge (and you can hear everything when you are that close) he had not commenced his primary activity yet. So I could only assume he was either building himself a formidable nest, or perhaps mummifying a dead Egyptian.

This would have been less stressful for me had this person just put a buffer stall between us.

Hey here's a question. How come no public restroom I have ever been in has a window? Are they afraid that because the smell is so bad that it will make people want to jump? If you put that window in it wouldn't smell so bad to begin with.

There are no secrets in bathrooms. I can always tell when someone in my office is having a bad day by the smell of the bathroom. Some days I walk in and it is so unbearable I contemplate just turning right around.

On a recent visit the stench was so unbearable I gagged. As soon as I opened the door the smell hit me in the face like a hurricane of hot stink.

This past weekend I came across a first. This particular establishment had installed a fan in the corner of the ceiling. How brilliant is that? A fan to blow away the bad. How come this was the first time I had witnessed this?

There is so much good that can be done to improve the quality of public restrooms. The power is in your hands. Literally. That is some change I can believe in.

Or we can just keep peeing in a meth lab full of dead Egyptians.

Your choice.


Nancy said...

Oh Richard, sometimes there is beauty in not being able to sleep - one can have the opportunity to be the first to comment on your blog post! I have to laugh quietly because my husband is sleeping - but that snort of laughter almost woke him up!

Girl's bathrooms have the same issues at times. Unfortunately.

Jeanette said...

This weekend I was in the restroom at Macy's (gag!), and I saw a woman entering into a stall with McDonald's french fries. That was upsetting...who would ruin McDonald's french fries like that? Show Ronald a little respect here!

Barb said...

You didn't mention grown people not flushing. I am amazed when I find that a grown woman (I know, cause I saw her come out of the stall!) would leave a toilet unflushed. Really! It has happened more than I like to think. If you don't want to touch the handle, use your foot, for Pete's sake.
BTW, just happened by. Loved it!

chelsedawn said...

You are too funny Rich! I'm sad we didn't hang out more during our LSP days. Love your blog.

Quincifer said...

I rarely use normal soap anymore, I carry around a bottle of that sanitiser gel they use in hospitals...its the only thing I trust.
The bathrooms at my work are luckily almost a joy to use. I work in a small office and am 1 of only 2 women...this luckily leads to us both being extra careful about smell or tidyness because we both know it would have been the other one.
My boyfriend has a bit of a phobia of people hearing him use the loo, I mean like he flushes AS he pees so no one can hear him do it. I've tried to stop him (by talking I mean, not actually walking in and stopping him flush) and he's slowly getting out of the habit. I think. - my bathroom is linked on to the bedroom by the way, incase you thought I was like walking through the house to do this. I only live in a 1-bed flat.

lcharlip said...

I once walked into the restroom at work to see and intern standing at the urinal doing his business while eating an apple... almost sounds like a magic trick.

Caroline B said...

Ohhh, don't get me started....hell is a public loo. I mean, do these people pee on the seat at home? Or do they think, 'aha, I don't have to flush or clean this so I will take the opportunity to smear faeces down the side of the bowl' - beats me!
By the way, thank you for reminding me that at the airport three days ago my daughter draped her coat on the side in the toilets, trailing her hood into a blocked sink, full of very suspect grey water. After flying the red-eye, I'd totally forgotten about it - that went straight in the wash! (no, she hasn't been wearing it since then, thank goodness!!)

Pat said...

You are too funny. Where do you come up with this stuff? I LOVE the three categories, especially adding to #2:you can get 2 uses out of a pair of underwear between washes. And #3: They also intentionally park in handicapped spots and most likely punch pandas.

I hate when someone comes into the stall RIGHTNEXTTOME when there are others open. Don't they know bathroom etiquette? C'mon!

And for those who don't wash their hands - they just ruin it for the rest of us hand washers. We have to finagle the door handle with everything but our hands to open it up. We don't want dirty-hands-butt-wiping-cooties. Get with it, folks!

The Girl said...

The toilets at my work aren't too bad, there's one for the girls and one for the boys and they're disabled so you could throw a party in there. And you don't have to worry about people coming in to stalls near you - that's the worst ever. I get the stage fright then.

But this afternoon a sign has appeared on the inside of the door of the toilet saying "Please make sure you leave this toilet in a clean condition when you leave." I feel there's a gross, yet hilarious, story behind that.

Katrina said...

I'm often in a situation where I find myself peeing in a meth lab filled with dead Egyptians. It's all in what you get used to.

I work for a defense attorney, so I don't use the restroom at our office. I have no doubt that it is filled with crabs and other critters tweaked out and looking for a new host.

jorg wobblington lopez said...

I fall into category number two and sometimes 3, rarely, if ever number 1. Don't you know that getting rid of the germs temporarily only makes them stronger?

And If I have a coffee, I'm bringing it in, and I'm leaving it on the urinal and drinking it after, and it will taste all the sweeter (or bitterer, if that's how you like it) not because it has been infiltrated with pee particles, but because I think of people like you, who probably wear kleenex boxes on their feet, and am happy. I'd like to shake your hand.

Jeninacide said...

Sometimes I bring my water bottle into the bathroom stall in the locker room at the gym. They have a little shelf for me to set it on but it still feels WRONG. From now on I will just leave it... somewhere else.