Saturday, February 20, 2010

Washroom Wars

My massage therapist's office is on the 29th floor of a 30-storey office building. Each floor houses up to ten suites, mostly lawyers' offices, accountants, and some health care professionals. It's a top-grade building in a prime location.

Last time I stopped by the 29th floor ladies' room prior to my appointment, I found the following notice, printed on 8.5" x 11" paper taped over each toilet bowl:

"To the ANIMAL who pisses on the toilet seat:

You are NOT the only person who uses this facility. Have some common decency and clean up after yourself if you MUST piss on the seat."

The rage underlying the note was so palpable I took a step backwards. Woah. When it comes to washrooms, people get emotional.

I wonder if the author of the note truly believes that there's only one woman who consistently sprays the seats. The building is open to the public; the washrooms are not locked; and the offices on the floor must attract dozens of client visits every day. It's strangers who are most likely to be inconsiderate.

There are washroom politics going on at my office too. Here's the setup: We have mens' and ladies' washrooms which can accomodate three customers apiece, accessible to staff and clients. There's usually at least one stall available in the ladies' room at all times and I hear that the gents' is the same. There is also a single staff-only washroom, shared by all genders, which can accomodate one person at a time. The staff-only washroom is almost always occupied.

Our staff prefer to avoid the less busy, public washrooms because they don't want to run into clients while they're having a private moment. I previously blogged about the time when I was in a stall with the door closed, and a client started making demands to me about her appointments and complaining about our customer service. I had to inform her that I would not discuss business with her in the washroom. Some of our clients aren't good at respecting boundaries.

So if the staff washroom is busy and the public washrooms are unattractive, where do some staff members go to do a number? They take the stairs to the next floor up and use their washrooms. Seems like a reasonable solution, yes?

The floor above us isn't nearly as busy as ours. We got the lock codes for their washrooms from building management one time when there was a major plumbing problem and we couldn't use the toilets on our floor at all. After that I would occasionally go upstairs to use the facilities. Until one time when I was up there and two women came in. One was complaining loudly about the fact that "those people from the other floor" were using their washrooms. Her tone was so scathing and hateful that I never went back up there again. No one should have to take verbal abuse with their pants around their ankles. It wasn't worth it.

Other women from our staff took a rebellious attitude and kept going upstairs anyway. They figured: we're paying rent to the building; the washrooms don't belong to any one tenant; and it's not like those washrooms are busy enough that the handful of extra users is going to create a line-up. They don't pee on the seats or clog the toilets. There's no logical reason why we can't all share.

The loud woman from the other floor took up arms against the notion of sharing. Maybe it's a primal thing. When animals pee on something it becomes their territory. I guess she felt the need to defend her toilets.

This woman, the Evil Toilet Queen, became increasingly militant. When verbally badgering our staff didn't deter them, she went to building management and demanded that they issue a memo to us asking us to cease and desist from all use of the other floor's washrooms. Building management never sent us a memo. I don't know if they have an official policy on the matter. I suspect, based on their overall approach to the whole landlord thing, that they don't give a flying fart either way. They decided to play dumb and let us fight it out amongst ourselves.

The latest development was a phone call from the Evil Toilet Queen. I'm told that earlier she came down to our floor in person to speak to "someone in charge", but fortunately I was on my lunch break at the time. She informed me that if our staff did not immediately stop using the other floor's toilets she would call a locksmith to change the locks on those washrooms, and then send us the bill.

Honestly. Does this woman have nothing better to do with her time?

I told her fine, fair enough. I suppose I could have escalated the issue to building management, to see if they actually approved of the threat, but I actually do have better things to do with my time. Anyway, we're moving in three months, to a new location with plenty of washrooms, including a grand total of six staff-only toilets. We can pee to our hearts' delight.

In closing I'd like to reiterate this basic rule of etiquette: If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat. It'd be an even better idea to sit down. Line the seat with paper if you must. Ladies be aware: if you're squatting and spraying all over the seat, you're also spraying some of that wild, out-of-control pee onto your clothes. And that's disgusting. Be responsible and sit down properly. That is all.


DarcsFalcon said...

That's just ... wow, I can't even think of a way to describe that person. Militant is a good start though. It's almost sad how she feels such a deep-seated threat to her litter box if a tenant from another floor uses it.

Jameil said...

ROTFL @ the thought of that woman's sad little life that she has to control something as insignificant as that. Wait. That's not funny. That's terrible. I wonder what she's really angry about.

unsigned said...

I'd fill a squeeze bottle with water and yellow food colouring and hose down the entire floor and all the toilets at a random time every day. I'd also smear nutella on the stalls and handles.

Fuck that stupid bitch!!!!!!

Claire said...

That note is worthy of!


Ily said...

I like the way you phrased it at the end (the "sprinkle when you tinkle") better than the first one you mentioned.

It's crazy when the use of a ladies' room becomes such a hot topic! lol

Jenski, PhD said...

That lady certainly needs to reevaluate her priorities! I like your closing rhyme...and the point that these people are likely peeing on their clothes. :-) The best I've got was that some members of my old department would crouch on the seat to do their business. So a sign appeared asking people to either put the seat up before standing on the toilet or wipe the shoe prints off.

Kate said...

Um, DUDE! There are more important things in the world.

G said...

You be amazed what kind of things people will battle over.

Over here, the battles are over parking spaces.

Yes, parking spaces.

Because most state agencies are located in the city, parking on site is a priceless commodity. Parking not on site, is not.

Those who have, go off the deep end on interlopers who don't belong.

Sad really.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

A person that worked up would almost make me take up pissing on the seat just to watch the vein in their head throbbing all day long. What can I say, I'm evil.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

On my floor at work, there are three other companies - we all share public bathrooms. The women from one of the companies are consistently disgusting. The bathroom on that side of the building constantly has pee on the seats, toilet paper bits strewn on the floor, water on the counters around the sinks and paper towels carelessly dropped on the floor. I cannot stand going in there. I tend to take the longer route, to the smaller bathroom where women seem to respect that they are sharing the bathroom with others. I have also been known to go to other floors when the smaller bathroom is full. Though, I cannot imagine anyone getting so territorial over a public bathroom that they'd make threats. Get a life!

powdergirl said...

The militant washroom watchdog, is she tall and blond with an Austrian accent and named Inga?

Because I think we've met.

There's a lot of people walking around out there who really should be medicated.

I'd embarrassed to wage jihad over a washroom, of all things.

But yeah, peeing on the seat is probably worthy of a ranty-note.

LL Cool Joe said...

I read this and forgot to comment. I think I had to rush to the loo and have a pee. I made sure I didn't spray onto the seat though.

The joys of washrooms. I'm so glad I don't work in an office and have to share a loo with anyone really.

It always amazes me what some people will get worked up about.

Windsor Grace said...

Great points! Love you story!