Don’t Bother Knocking

Well, lookee here.  Two posts in one week!  And this one is on my favorite topic, the Ladies Room!

In the beginning of the year, my office was moved to another building.  When we were touring the potential location beforehand, one of our first inquiries was concerning the bathroom facilities and whether they were up to snuff with our needs and expectations.

To my surprise (and later, after I thought about it, horror?), we were presented with a single-toilet bathroom.  Not a room with stalls, just one room, with a toilet and a sink.  Rather like your bathroom at home, or that of a hospital patient’s bathroom (I work in a hospital).

I wanted to be delighted with the prospect of all that privacy and space to do bathroom activities without the competition and odors of other office workers.  My delight was immediately snuffed out when I realized that, if there is a true “emergency” situation (you know what I’m talking about here…), you’re really going to be screwed.   If you are unfortunate to have that emergency, there is no chance, at all, in disguising the fact that you’ve had one, because there are no other stalls to possibly confuse the situation for innocent bystanders.  It doesn’t matter that there is a can of room deodorizer in there.

Only one toilet + you leaving the bathroom + bad odors = you’re that guy.

No amount of pretending or nonchalance will get you out of this.  You’ve done it, and there’s no mistaking it.  This is the first reason for dislike of “private” bathrooms.

My second is this:  Every time I’m in there… and I mean, every time… I have a sudden attack of fear in epic proportions that I have forgotten to lock the door.  It is generally within .0006 seconds of becoming partially disrobed (sorry) in preparation for doing bathroom business.  And the thing is, the door is like 8 miles from the actual toilet.  So it’s not like I can just reach over and click the lock.  One would have to make a leap in spectacular Olympianic form (while partially disrobed) in order to save the embarrassment of someone walking in while trying to peacefully (yet very, very quickly) do your thing.  And I don’t know if “Olympianic” is actually a word.

Here’s my third:  Apparently, some nincompoops (heh) actually DO forget to lock the door.  I’ve heard two accounts of folks who were caught with their pants down in there.  What the heck!?  I’m already mortified that this “prviate” bathroom makes no bones about the fact that humans are in there doing things which, while very natural, should be kept secret and unannounced.  Now I have to be worried that I’m going to intrude on these natural activities. Great.

I’ll mention here now, the real inspiration for this post.  It seems that there are other folks on my floor who have a similar fear of walking in on an unflattering situation (or, are just strangely polite?), so, they knock before attempting to enter the room.

Now, I’m not sure what that knock is supposed to do, but, let me tell you, it really…I don’t know.. surprises me.  I guess, if someone is in there who forgot to lock can yell out, “I’M IN HERE!!!” within the .0000002 seconds of hearing the knock and the person trying the handle, it’s a useful thing.  But other than that, I don’t see the benefit.  This is worse than the automatic flusher thing.  I have no idea of what to do when someone knocks.  Am I supposed to yell out that the bathroom is occupied?  Am I supposed to yell, “I’ll be right out!!”  Is it rude if I don’t say anything, and the knocker tries the handle and realizes there is a silent yet rude occupant utilizing the facilities?

My advice:  Don’t bother knocking!  It just makes a weird situation weirder, and gives the occupant a heart attack.  (“$hit, did I not lock the door?  What do I say? Do I say I’m in here?  Did I not lock the door??!!” all while trying finish business and putting clothes back on before someone opens the door.)  It’s just not necessary, I say.

And lastly.  If you are the lady who stands right outside the &&#^@$^#  door with a pissed look on your face because you’re waiting too long and you’re too whatever to use the damned unisex bathroom two feet away, I say this:  Stand the hell back.  I was just washing my coffee cup, I wasn’t doing anything bad in there (note, there are no odors in my wake), and anyway, what if I was doing other business in there?  Thanks for making me more mortified.  I bet you’re the type that doesn’t let people disembark the elevator, either.  I’m not apologizing the next time!

All in all, I give our “private,” probably-used-to-be-a-patient’s-bathroom (ew) a “thumbs down.”  There has to be some better way of approaching this life function without all of the stress that goes along with it.  We’ve put men on the moon, for Pete’s sake.

Though I’m guessing their bathroom situation wasn’t so hot, either.

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