Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bathroom Break

I decided, today, to follow the lead of some woman I ran across (rather strangely) while in San Francisco last week.

I was at a dinner in a hotel meeting room, and I'd stepped out to use the restroom. I was standing at the urinal when the door opened and in walked a woman, about sixty; she reminded me a little of my Grandmother, with that coiffed blue 'do, the satiny-ruffled blouse, buttoned to the neck, and the practical flats that might've been purchased in 1962, or yesterday (who can know?).

She walked past, mumbling to herself, and I thought, first for an instant that, perhaps I was in the wrong restroom, and I was instantly mortified. I quickly realized, though, that, despite the fact that this IS California, San Francisco no less, we've not yet begun installing urinals in women's restrooms. She was in the wrong restroom. Perhaps she didn't realize it, but in hindsight, I don't think that's the case; while I didn't point out to her that she was in the restroom with the blue triangle on the door, she did see me, and it didn't seem to phase her at all.

It was, I admit, a bit strange standing there in the men's restroom with a matronly woman in one of the stalls just a few feet away. I was embarrassed (although I'm not sure why; it was she who was intruding). I rushed to wash my hands (as she whistled her way through her business there in the stall), and rushed out of the bathroom. I suspect she decided that privacy--mine AND hers--took a backseat to her impatience, as there was a line to use the women's restroom.

I was saying, though, that I've decided to follow her example--not in using the men's restroom; I've been doing that for a few years now. In using the OPPOSITE restroom; at least at work. Because our restroom has a perpetual smell that is just unbearable. I've taken to moistening a paper towel and tying it about my head, covering my nose and mouth, prior to risking the stench. It's absolutely horrid. And I don't know why.

It's a clean restroom (relatively, at least). And the toilets and urinals are regularly flushed (I check them all often). I honestly cannot fathom the source of the foul smell, but it's so bad that I've gone and decorated the restroom with those hangy, good smelling Christmas tree things that you hang from your car rear view mirror (the restroom looks like a scene from a cheesy horror flick--the one where the dead body has been stored in the back bedroom for 27 months).

It's not working though. So I've worked up an exclusive timeshare agreement with the women in the office: I get exclusive use of their restroom three times per day. They were hesitant, at first, but I offered them the right to use the men's restroom five times per day, in return. All I had to do was point out that, in making this agreement, they were effectively getting the best of the company, since they were, in doing so, receiving additional bathroom breaks without any decrease in salary (yea...they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer...I hope none of them read this).

At any rate, as uncomfortable as it is, it's to the point where it's worth it. I only hope none of the guys catch me walking out.


A.L. said...

Is there no other way to "repair" the smell in your own restroom? You did say that otherwise it was in perfect working order and clean. We women are very particular about our space. If they allow you to use the facilities I'm sure your less fastidious fellows will quickly follow suit and that, for us women, would be disaster. I cringe when I go into our ladies room to find the seat up! A.L.

Anonymous said...

Just as the man and the weedweater, there seems to be a story that follows you PJ, and that's not necessiarly bad. Good luck in Stockton and where ever you go.