Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bathrooms and the Workplace

What is it about people that makes them flush (pardon the pun) all common sense and respect for others down the toilet the minute they enter a bathroom at work? I’m serious here – I have a hard time believing these people act this way at home, and if they do….well let’s just say I hope they are single.

Let me be clear here – I am not talking about public restrooms at the mall or at a truck stop. I am talking about the bathrooms at my place of work… a white collar company where people are assumed to hold an above average IQ and where you might mistakenly assume people understood basic decency for their fellow man.

Now obviously I can’t speak for what women do in their bathrooms, but it cannot possibly be as repulsive as what some men do in ours. I kid you not…I have walked into many a stall to find the previous occupant was obviously too busy to flush when he left.

Really? Your day is so action packed you don’t have the three seconds it takes to hit the lever and/or push the button? Even if there are sensors do people not bother to check to be sure they actually work before leaving?

I have also seen times where there is a small pile of wadded up toilet paper sitting next to the toilet. Now granted I’m not about to inspect it to determine what is hiding within the toilet paper itself, but I have to assume it isn’t pretty. The best case scenario plays out as if someone was blowing their nose while on the toilet and couldn’t manage the physics of how to toss the paper into the toilet while seated, but the alternative is even more disgusting.

Is it really possible to “miss” depositing the toilet paper into the toilet? Ok, perhaps I could understand this if someone was three years old….but as far as I know everyone working here is at least 18 so you might think they have had enough practice to understand how the process works.

We also have the guys who are a tad too shy to use a urinal and thus they decide it is best to pee in the stall instead. Now let me state for the record that I have no problem with anyone who isn’t comfortable with taking a leak while standing next to another guy… I think there is a little bit of reluctance in us all, so using the stall is an acceptable option, but is it really that difficult to NOT piss all over the seat?

All I’m asking for is to open up the lid before starting. Heck they don’t even have to use their hands if that creeps them out….just use the foot to raise the seat before dropping the pants….it really shouldn’t be that hard. But in the real world this is obviously too much work, so before someone else can use that particular stall they need to wipe the seat down and clear all the “residue” off of it. If there is a lower point in the work day I have yet to find it, but I can promise you any amount of cleanup required is far better than not bothering and realizing your mistake after you sit down. Not a pleasant thought really.

Then we have the guy who thinks it makes sense to do his dishes in the very sink that is less than 18 inches away from a urinal…..a urinal which is currently in use by the way. Ok – I get it that you ate lasagna for lunch and you don’t want to leave your Rubbermaid container laying around all day where it will build up a special kind of funk by 5:00pm, but do you really need to wash the dishes in the bathroom sink? Might the sink in the cafeteria be a better option perhaps?

I wish I could say that is the worst of it, but frankly it isn’t even close. All men know there is a certain “code” that comes into play in the bathroom – and this code includes such rules as which urinal to use when one of them is currently occupied, the banning of small talk while in the middle of your activity, and even the prohibiting of “questionable” noise while certain bodily functions are occurring. Even with such rules in place, I can honestly say I have witnessed each and every one of them broken countless times.

Where is the self-respect from the guy who is making so much noise in his stall that you are actually embarrassed to be in the same bathroom as him for fear someone might see you walk out and mistake you for him? Where is the common sense from the moron who thinks it is ok to call his girlfriend on his cell-phone while standing in front of the urinal? Where is the pride from the guy who walks out of the stall past three or four other men only to exit the bathroom with not even so much as a quick rinse of his hands at the sink?

Then we have the guys who obviously are incapable of tossing their paper towels in the trash or the guys who have yet to figure out how to keep the water in the sink instead of all over the counter. I’m not exaggerating here….in most of the bathrooms in my workplace, you will find the counter is covered in water about 80% of the time – it is even to the point that you need to be careful to not lean up against it or you will end up with wet pants that make you look like you didn’t quite make it to the restroom in time.

At this point I’m pretty sure if you took a poll of the senior executives at major corporations across the nation you might find that one of their favorite perks isn’t the luxury box seats at the local stadium, the free membership to the country club, or the use of the company jet for personal vacations. No, I’m quite sure one of the most beloved perks is the key to the executive washroom…..because at least in theory it will be the cleanest restroom in the place with the lowest amount of ignorance let through the door.

I guess this is just one of those things that really harms my image of my fellow human being. If we are so incapable of the basic traits that separate us from the other animals on the planet we might as well just be chucking our own feces at one another while beating on our chests.
I haven’t quite seen that yet…..but at this point I’m not sure it would even shock me.

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