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Monday, July 23, 2012

Public Restroom Etiquette - A Life Lesson

One good thing – probably the only good thing – about working in a building with limited facilities space – is that one can observe the restroom-behavior of others which, believe it or not, is quite diverse and imaginative. And most of it irritates the crap out of me. It is an uncomfortable pastime, but occasionally rewarding and can take one's mind off the fact that one's bladder is about to burst.

Let me set this one up for you: There are two towel dispensers mounted on the wall of the john, adjacent to the sinks and they are operated with an electronic eye, which doles out the towels as it sees fit, which seems a little too God-like in my opinion, but this is neither here nor there. I had finished doing my business and was washing my hands at roughly the same time as another young fellow - apparently a go-getter, who swooped to the towel dispensers and waved his hand under not one, but both electric eyes and gathered in towels from both simultaneously.

This flamboyant move alone solidifies my stance that we would be better off with hand-cranked towel dispensers, because if both of the lad’s hands were engaged in the dissemination of the towels, he would not be as likely to be so frivolous with them. Also, it’s kind of a douchebag move anyhow, swooping in and doing the double-hander.

I washed my hands, got my single towel, dried my hands and followed the double-hander out the door just in time to see him use one towel to open the bathroom door (dumping the spent artillery in the garbage once the door was open), then to use the second towel on the outer door of the vestibule (dropping this towel into the small garbage can placed strategically by that door). Apparently, he had it all figured out – no flies on Frank, so to speak. I made a mental note to find out where the double-hander sat, so I could leave him voicemails later detailing the whereabouts of all the other germ-centers of the building, including his desk, where I would avow someone once had not only died, but expired over the weekend and had a couple of days to ferment – and that his fermentation had subsequently contaminated the area so badly that it would probably never be safe. That sort of message could leave a certain strain of germaphobe in a panicked, tear-soaked heap in minutes. And in my opinion, it would serve him right.

I hate this whole germ-paranoia that we as a people seem to have embraced. I remember drinking water from the garden hose and now it seems that my children turn their nose up at tap water and refuse to drink anything that isn't bottled, distilled or otherwise dispensed from a machine. A few days out in the desert and drinking muddy, gnat-infested water out of a hooveprint would do them some good, in my opinion, but again, I digress. Every desk I pass seems to have a bottle of Purell sitting there, just in case some kamikaze germs dive bomb the area. We are obsessed over germs and it is certain to come to no good end. Speaking of Purell, I am of the opinion that this magical gel is nothing more than a placebo. I am fairly certain that I could drink a bottle of it with no ill-effects, if only my questionable gag-reflex would allow me to swallow gel.

Okay, back to the restroom. Another thing - people have no couth. The sounds I hear emitting from the closed stalls of the sitting are beyond description. I have to wonder what these people eat that deprives them of the shame and pride needed to clear one's decks with a certain amount of decorum. It is my thought that folks should attempt to keep it down when using the sitting-toilets in public. It's bad enough that we cannot time our lives so we can simply take care of this business in the privacy of our own homes, we certainly do not need to entertain others with the sound of every burrito, order of chili-fries and malt liquor that we have ingested in recent history. Impossible, you say? I beg to differ. Moderate the valve, I say - as you would a fire hose or trombone.

Also, while lounging in the restroom I have noticed that the countertops around the sinks look like a lively family of sea-otters have used the area to frolick in a water-splashing, otter-type fashion. I don't know what kind of rowdy shenanigans are taking place when I am not around, but even leaning near the vicinity of the sinks to wash your hands can wet your shirt and/or britches at just the right height to make it look as if you didn't quite make it to the urinal in time. Funny, yes - but kind of a pain in the ass if it happens to you.

And these are the restrooms with which I have a passing familiarity. Using a public restroom out in the real world is always a crapshoot (so to speak) and you never know what you're going to find. I have gone into some really nice public restrooms where it has been a pleasure to do my business. On the other hand, there have been some that I have backed right the hell out of and kept on walking, damage to my internal organs be damned. And of course, nothing beats the restrooms in an old-fashioned gas station. After bearing the humility of dragging a car tire attached to the key with a chain to open the door, I have seen the interior of some of these that look as if a bomb filled with used motor oil, feces and toilet paper had recently exploded. I find that the size of the object attached to the key directly correlates with the filthiness of the restroom. Apparently, the owners of these mini-biohazards do not want anyone to steal the key that might come back later under cover of night and clean the place.

My point is this: We should have some sort of stringent guidelines in place for not only the cleanliness of our public restrooms, but behavior within its walls as well. It would make for a better experience for all involved and for me in particular. And I vow that once I have been elected King, I will put into motion legislation that will revolutionize the public restroom experience nationwide. And remember, one towel is just fine - no need to showboat - it's a restroom, for Chrissakes.

1 comment:

  1. Jerry, very funny as usual. Thank you for brightening my day!