Don’t Bother Knocking
Posted on August 20, 2014
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 think “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 “private” 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.
If You’re Gonna Blow it Up, Don’t Wear Hello Kitty Shoes
Posted on October 19, 2013
It’s been a while since I’ve written about my adventures in the Ladies’ Room, and I’ve had this post brewing in my head for some time now. It’s a little bizarre, but I could probably write daily about some Infamous Incident which occurs in that delightful tiled room, but I’m guessing that one can only hear so much on the matter.
Now I know that the title up there seems completely unrelated to the Ladies’ Room, and perhaps you were expecting something more politically or globally themed. Apologies, but this has nothing to do with military functions nor atrocities suffered around the world (though, there is something to be said about the atrocities suffered in the Ladies’ Room in my particular workplace).
I am happy to say that my two coworkers share similar views regarding “business” functions which occur in the Ladies’ Room, and generally, our day is not complete without one of us shouting a warning of something nefarious going down in that delightful room down the hall. One coworker has referred to the “business” as “blowing it up,” as in, “Don’t go in the bathroom, someone is blowin’ it up in the third stall!”
Now, I happen to think this is the funniest expression I’ve heard to describe that function which people should reserve for the privacy of their homes, and I’m laughing right now, just thinking about it.
In our particular bathroom, it seems that “blowin’ it up” occurs on a daily (multiple times, multiple participants… what the heck?) basis. I’m not sure if it’s something in the food, the air, or what, but those three stalls see a lot of action.
Sadly, it seems that the stalls are unable to handle such daily excitement, which inevitably leads to toilet clogs, an occasionally flooded floor, and a real fear of opening the door when all you wanted to do was rinse your coffee cup. I’ve found that a cringing facial expression, tip-toeing, and stealthy opening of stall doors does not save me from the carnage left behind by other business-doers.
Generally, the best thing to do in our Ladies’ Room is to get in, do your thing, and get out as quickly as possible, particularly if the handicapped stall is in use (the luxury “business” suite). Sometimes, it is better to just leave and wait for an “all clear” signal from your coworkers.
I wrote something long ago, when I first started this blog, about the fact that if you are unlucky enough to have emergency business to do in the bathroom, pretty much everyone knows who you are. Since our Ladies’ Room is a bit small, there is generally no way for you to avoid being discovered. Particularly if your feet are easily identifiable. If you’re wearing fluorescent green peep toe shoes, you’re screwed. Or. Hello Kitty shoes.
Now, I’m not exactly sure why an adult in a workplace would be wearing Hello Kitty shoes, and part of me considers that it might be a kind of cool, funky sort of thing, like, I don’t know, wearing a Bazooka Joe tee shirt and sporting a mohawk. But, funky or not (sadly, there are no mohawk sporting workers in my building, so the cool factor is not there), wearing Hello Kitty shoes is going to get you noticed. Wearing Hello Kitty shoes and blowin’ it up in the bathroom is a double no-no.
You should realize, Hello Kitty Shoe Wearer Who Blows it Up in the Ladies’ Room, that long, analytic discussions will be held at your expense, and perhaps you’ll even be mentioned in someone’s blog post. My advice to you (apart from not wearing Hello Kitty shoes without a mohawk), if you should have another “emergency,” is to either switch to your plain, black, unidentifiable shoes beforehand, or go to another floor to do your business.
Blowing it up should be reserved for your bathroom at home. And likely, so should your Hello Kitty shoes.
And that, my friends, is my sage advice for the day.
Automatic Flushers Are Bad
Posted on October 22, 2012
Well, it has been some time since I have written of any adventures in the Ladies’ Room, so I decided that today’s post would pay homage to that special place in my heart. Today I’m going to talk about automatic flusher toilets in public restrooms; you know, the toilets with the nefarious black box and flashing red light located behind the plumbing.
I admit that, while I appreciate the fact that the flusher people have saved me from touching a bacteria-laden flusher handle, and that they are guaranteeing that the bowl will always be sparkling clean upon entering my private oasis, I secretly curse their creators whenever I see them.
I remember someone telling me once that the force of a household toilet flush is strangely strong, shooting something like 8428921634 particles of bacteria and who knows what else into the air at 92 m.p.h with every lever press. It’s why you are told to either keep your toothbrush in the cabinet, or close the lid on the toilet when you flush. I can only imagine the forces present in these public toilets, since they seem to be rather dramatic with loud noises and furious draining of water.
There are two significant problems, particularly with the auto flusher toilets. One is that there is no lid to cover the expelling of microscopic bodily goodies into the air. The other is that you are put into a high state of alert, in fear that the flush is going to happen before you’ve finished your business. If you add in the fact that many public toilets no longer have a little hook for your purse, you are forced into a bizarre contortionist stance with your pocketbook hung ’round your neck while trying to get your business done, and sometimes even having to stop mid-business because you are sure that the flush is going to happen, and you don’t want your parts near the bowl when it does.
I always wonder about the exact “timing” of the flush sensor, and whether it is a sensor at all. For example, does it “see” my legs and think I’m already doing my business, and thus, starts the timer? I mean, I have to assess a lot of things before I even get down to that part of things. Often I will just wait for the first flush to happen, covering all exposed body parts, and prepare for the frantic .02 second business-doing before the next flush.
And who decided for how long the timer should tick, anyway? Probably some guy, no doubt! What if a person has more serious business to conduct in there? Shouldn’t there be some sort of option (like, “1″ or “2″… ha) available? While you already know my stance on “option 2″ in a public restroom, there are plenty of people out there who gleefully explore that option, and I feel it’s my duty to speak on their behalf.
I won’t even go into the part about what happens after the business is done, and sometimes one is forced to do an intricate toilet dance in an attempt to attract the sensor to cause a flush. No one wants to touch that tiny button located on the box; sure, leaning over the bowl while the flush engages sounds like a lot of fun, but I’d rather not.
I think I should do some posts on how guys have it easier (certainly in regard to public restrooms), because, really, this is ridiculous. They can do their business from three feet away (okay, I exaggerate), and not have to worry about business particles shooting at them.
In the end, we ladies are forced to suffer the consequences of dealing with these “making business easier” contraptions, and I feel that this is unjust. I encourage all of you to write to your local Congressman, or even start an “Anti-Automatic-Flushers” campaign in your local town square. We can put an end to this nonsense, once and for all!
The Ladies’ Room, Emergency Situations, and What to Do About Them
Posted on April 27, 2012
Hmmm. I’m starting to sound slightly obsessed about bathroom stuff, aren’t I? I know I said I would wait a week or two before posting on this. I lied.
Sooo, the Ladies’ Room. Yah. I have a thing about that, too.
I have told only the people very close to me (and now, I’m sharing with you.,,.don’t you feel blessed?) that, I would rather run to my car and poo my pants than be forced to have an ‘emergency’ situation in a public (particularly a work-related) Ladies’ Room. (catchy opening, eh?)
I am gently referring to these as ‘emergency’ situations, because there is absolutely no reason, whatsoever, that anyone should be taking a leisurely poop in a public/work related restroom. None.
The thing is, no matter how much you try to convince yourself that no one cares if you have an ‘emergency’ situation in the bathroom, it is universally untrue, and we all know it. I’m sure that any number of you can recall whispered conversations about what the hell was going on with Mary who was in there for 20 minutes after lunchtime and left a cloud of green gases hovering in the air for much of the day after her departure. Or the time you saw what suspiciously looked like your coworker Dan with his pants down and a newspaper and cup of coffee on the floor in his stall. Or the time you could swear it was Carla’s shoes you could see in the handicapped stall (preferred location of all ‘emergency situations’… I guess people like to spread out and make it into a little vacation in there) when the toilet flushed approximately 4 times while you were in there doing specifically and emphatically non-emergency things.
Now, if you are concerned about the potential for an emergency situation and are unsure about the possbility of making it to your car, you could try to avoid the embarrassment in advance by prepping your coworkers or friends. You could remove your makeup (or, if Male, put some on?), walk around holding your stomach, and woefully, yet subtly, indicate to others that you think you may have food poisoning. You could also (sorry Men, get your own thing here) blame your montly visitor. That usually has a high empathy factor.
You could employ a good friend to be your wing man and either deflect potential bathroom users with a gossipy conversation about Steve in Accounting, or alternatively, stand at the sink whilst using 3 faucets on full speed, and carry on a very loud and distracting conversation with you in order to minimize the truth of what is really going on in your stall.
This is, of course, supposing that you have actual friends to assist you in your time of need. I’m sorry to say that, friends or not, I’m choosing the pants pooping in the car. I’ll use my friend to explain to others that I may be late returning from lunch because I broke my heel or my cat needs surgery or something of that nature.
Another alternative is to always have a supply of what my friend J and I affectionately refer to as ‘pink pills’, which are basically the store brand version of chewable Pepto Bismol tablets. They are miracle workers, my friends, I highly suggest you try them. Best to be used if you’re feeling a little concerned and want to take a proactive approach.
If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation of having no friends, no pink pills, no car, or if you work over 20 miles from your home, I’ve really got nothing for you. I might suggest trying to find an alternative location, like, a McDonald’s bathroom, which is probably really gross, but at least no one will recognize you there. If it really IS an emergency, where you had no warning and it’s either poop at your desk or make a clenched run for your nearest bathroom, all I can say is, while you have my greatest sympathies, don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that no one cares. They do. And they will talk about it.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and there will be no one in there during your time of woe, or, if someone (or, God forbid, multiple people) happens to walk in, you can get your business done quickly and wrinkle your nose dramatically and roll your eyes while leaving your stall and pretend that it was the person next to you. You can even try crying and/or pretend disgust at how awful the bathroom smelled when you went in.
Certainly all valiant attempts, but in the end, the fact of the matter is: EVERYONE KNOWS.
Now that you know the truth of the matter, buy a car, get a friend, or move your job closer to your home.
Until then, your best hope is that Mary or Dan will have similarly timed bad days, and can trump your situation with grander, more flagrant (fragrant?), emergency situations. Barring that, you are SOL. Ha.
Bathrooms With Windows
Posted on April 21, 2012
Right. So I’ve already admonished myself in my first post about using ‘poop’ references in my posts, but this is a slight variance on the subject, and has more to do with bathrooms, and the windows within.
Now, I don’t know if it’s just me, or if my imagination is too wild, or if I’ve seen too many peeping-Tom type of movies, or perhaps I have viewed too many ‘interesting’ things in windows whilst out walking… but… I have a thing about bathroom windows.
When I walk into the bathroom that is not my own, and I see there is a window which is inevitably right near the toilet (alas, most bathrooms are not big enough for anything to not be right near the toilet), I stare at it with a bit of shock and dismay, when I notice that there are no blinds pulled, no curtains drawn, no ‘frosted’ effects, or anything to ensure the privacy of bathroom goings on. I know, that was a very long sentence.
I will look out the window, to see exactly who might be privy (heh) to my bathroom activities, whether there is anyone lurking around within a mile or two (holding binoculars, no doubt), and then further investigate whether there are shades to pull or any devices to use as a blocking mechanism.
I don’t know that most women necessarily notice the potential danger of an unobscured window, since they sit down (shocking, I know) during toilet activities, and probably figure that the most that will be seen is their head. That is, if they’re thinking about it, at all.
I generally suppose that men might likely consider it, but think nothing of it; hell, they may even be FACING said window when doing their stand up business at the toilet. I’m guessing, though, that they don’t care much, seeing as how most public Men’s Rooms are a place of jolly fun and comradery with men lining up next to each other and discussing various activities whilst in their very un-private posts.
I don’t understand it. In my own bathroom, there is a window near the toilet, and there is a screen and a curtain which can be drawn. I do actually leave the curtain and window open during the summertime, but I do go through lengths to assure that no one knows exactly what I am doing in there (if it’s actual toilet business, as opposed to, say, laundry).
At night time, I sometimes will not turn on the light.
During the summertime, I will actually sometimes close the curtains AND the window, so that no one in the vicinity would know that I was purposefully closing the curtains for privacy, and then snicker to themselves when they hear the toilet flush. (dangerously paranoid here, Catherine, you know this)
If it is daytime and I am pretty sure no one can see me anyway, I will sometimes bend down and pretend to pick something up, and then crouch over to the toilet. Tricksy, eh?
This is all certainly ridiculous, I know, and I’m not sure where this intense need for bathroom privacy was born. I didn’t grow up in a house where it wasn’t respected. I’ve never been burst in upon. I’ve never had a horrifying nor deadly experience in a bathroom. Or, any other room, come to think of it.
I actually admire people who are very clear about their bathroom intentions (I’m talking about the number 2 kind), and then announce that the bathroom should be avoided after they’ve left.
I guess I consider the bathroom to be like a sanctuary. It’s my own private little place, and I’m doing my own private thing, and I don’t want anyone else to be aware of it. I suppose that in this world where everyone knows some of your business due to loud cell phone conversations and internet cookies and the like, I need to hold on to this one last bastion of privacy available to me.
For now, I will say, if you ever invite me to your home, there had better be curtains in there. The kind you can actually close and not just swags that can’t be undone. And, you can rest assured that there will be multiple modes to ensure your personal privacy if you ever need to venture into mine.
Some day, perhaps next week, I will discuss the evils of public ladies’ rooms, and my rules for engagement there. Until then, close your curtains. People with binoculars are watching.