PAgent’s Progress

Words Are My Favorite Toys

July 31st, 2006

I share a bathroom with primates

Once upon a time, I worked on the second floor of my building. There is one men’s room on the second floor, and my employer is the only business on that floor. Ergo, everyone that used the men’s room was a coworker.

Well, except for the occasional street person that we would find in there, shaving or what-not. And the Phantom Pooper. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our men’s room was always quite tidy, and I never had reason to complain about the state in which it was left. After all, my coworkers are all professionals, they are all adults, it would be odd if they didn’t leave the bathroom tidy. In fact, I never really thought about it.

The only thing marring this otherwise unremarkable state of affairs was the Phantom Pooper. This was not someone from the second floor, this was some interloper from another floor. His modus operandi was to go to a different floor, seemingly at random, to use the toilet. Once in the stall, he would put town a paper toilet seat cover, and then assemble some kind of … nest on top of it. There would be six, eight, ten layers of toilet paper, laid down in swaths, completely covering the toilet seat. He would do his business. And then he would bolt out of the restroom at a dead run, leaving his ‘nest’ behind.

The next person to enter the men’s room would find this bizarre assemblage of toilet paper, like a shrine to the bowel movement. If you were lucky, the toilet would actually be flushed, but that wasn’t a given by any means. This was, of course, a frequent topic of conversation. How germ phobic do you have to be to require that much insulation between your butt and the toilet seat? Bear in mind, the restrooms were kept quite clean. This isn’t like the men’s room down at the ‘76 station off the interstate.

The Phantom Pooper stopped coming to our men’s room when he was caught in the act, and the receptionist gave him the hairy eyeball as he tried to leave unobtrusively. I think he crossed the second floor off his rotation.

I thought that the Phantom Pooper displayed the most screwed-up bathroom behavior I was ever likely to see. But I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. You see, I subsequently moved to the third floor, where my employer was not the only business on the floor. And I discovered that I had been spoiled indeed, by the neat and tidy bathroom habits of my coworkers.

The Phantom Pooper still visits the third floor. We know this because we find his little toilet seat constructions on a regular basis. Again, he can’t be bothered to clean up the thick cushion of paper he deposits on the toilet seat, he just walks away.

And there is apparently another germ phobe that actually works on the third floor, because the floor of the men’s room is always littered with paper towels. Some are dropped in front of the trash bin, as if it was too much trouble to actually get them into the trash. Some are dropped on the floor next to the door, where clearly someone didn’t want to actually touch the door handle. Inexplicably, there used to be one carefully folded paper towel sitting on top of the urinal, every day. Why? What reason could there be to carry a paper towel over to the urinal? And why leave it there? And in addition to paper towels, any other bit of paper, like scraps of toilet paper, or the cardboard tube from an empty roll, is simply dropped on the floor. So the men’s room always looks like a pig sty. But it gets worse.

The clutter of dirty paper towels is almost charming compared to the effect of the gentleman who, for whatever reason, refuses to use the urinal. Instead, he uses the toilet, straddling it, and letting forth a stream that would do a quarterhorse proud. However, he never, ever, ever, raises the toilet seat before doing so. As a result, on any given day, you will enter the stall only to find the seat covered with big fat drops of piss.

This completely boggles my mind. This is a professional office worker, who wears a suit nearly every day, and yet engages in the kind of behavior that your mother has usually stomped out of you by the time you are five years old. Is there no consideration for anyone else that has to use this facility? No, there is not.

For a while, someone was throwing a paper towel into the urinal, resulting in a stoppage that would nearly cause a torrential overflow. This went on, every single day, until someone posted a sign reading simply “STOP THROWING PAPER TOWELS IN THE URINAL OR I WILL STICK MY FOOT UP YOUR ASS”. It has not happened since. I wish whichever proactive individual that left the sign would put up a similar one for Captain Quarterhorse.

But the last straw, the thing that has convinced me that I’m dealing with lower primates here, is that someone has been using the time they spend standing at the urinal to mine for boogers, and wipe them carefully onto the wall. At first I thought it was a fluke, perhaps some juvenile guest of an employee. But no. Every day the wall is scrubbed clean, and every day they reappear. And you can’t ignore them. They are the only spot of color on an otherwise clean white tile wall right in front of you.

I am completely flummoxed by this; that there are people, employed in an office environment, that have this kind of disregard for hygiene and normal consideration for others. What’s next? Will I enter the men’s room only to find the remains of some kind of poo-flinging contest? I have considered trekking down to the second floor whenever I feel the call of nature, but then the primates will have won, you see.

Honestly, I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

July 31st, 2006

Shattering my Serenity

It was cold, crisp and clear this morning, a shocking contrast to the heat wave we were having a week ago. I rode my bike to work, and it would have been a very pleasant ride indeed, except for yet another ass in a car expressing his hatred of cyclists on ‘his’ road.

As I was coming up Multnomah, some yahoo pulled the old “blast-the-horn-as-I-pass-the-cyclist” trick. Wow, that NEVER gets old. I should point out that at the time I was in the center of a very wide and well-marked bike lane, and was not anywhere near traffic. So this wasn’t about resentment at ’sharing the road’, unless it was resentment that he has to share any road, at any time, with us two-wheeled bastards.

Needless to say, that took most of the joy out of the morning commute. It’s always depressing to be reminded that there are people out there that hate you, even though they’ve never met you.