Friday, April 20, 2012

The Room Without a View

I didn't want a show. I just wanted to go to the bathroom. But, I did get a show. It was kind of like my own personal Twilight: New Moon. Except worse. (And I didn't think that was possible.)

There is a reason public restrooms don't have windows. (And why bathrooms in homes only have small windows or windows with frosted glass.) There is also a reason bathrooms have locks on the doors. Absolutely no one wants to see what's happening in there. (Actually, I shouldn't say "absolutely," because one thing I learned in my Abnormal Psychology class is that there are a lot of messed up people out there.)

I work in the shipping/receiving department of a large manufacturing/warehouse facility. I deal with a lot of truck drivers. The trucker's "lounge" consists of a few chairs, two vending machines, a microwave, a water fountain, a pay phone (yes, those do still exist), and a restroom. The trucker's lounge restroom is a small, five-foot by five-foot cinder block room with a toilet, a sink, two paper-towel dispensers, and a garbage can. It also features a door that locks.

I have had some traumatic experiences involving that restroom. I've found the poop-filled underwear of grown men in the garbage can. Twice. (Once while digging through the garbage can looking for my lost weddng ring. The other time I made my "discovery" simply by opening the door and breathing. (The stench practically knocked me off my feet.)) And, more often than you would think, I have opened the door to "discover" a fat, stinky truck driver sitting with his pants around his ankles.

It happened again a couple of days ago. What made it worse was that a couple of my co-workers were in the lounge with me, and they saw the driver go into the restroom, but they didn't warn me. (Of course, they had no way of knowing that the doofus wasn't bright enough to operate the door lock.)(Is it really too much to ask that someone LOCK THE DOOR? I don't think so.)

There is a reason there is a lock on the door. No one wants to see you sitting here!

To me, it seems like common sense. If the bathroom is small enough that you wouldn't want anyone in there with you, you lock the door. That is why, in larger bathrooms, they have stalls for the toilets. I don't want to see other people when they go to the bathroom, and I don't want other people to see me while I go.

It's always disconcerting when someone violates the unwritten personal space rules of the restroom. Years ago, I worked my way through college at Deseret Industries (a Mormon version of Goodwill or Salvation Army). They also give employment opportunities to mentally challenged people. One young man had particular problems with social boundaries. When he went to the bathroom he would always try to have conversations with everyone else there, going so far as to look under or over the stall doors to see who he was talking to (or at, since nobody else seemed very interested in talking back.)

This young man also had the habit of pulling his pants all the way down to his ankles when he stood at the urinal. It was always awkward. One of the reasons there aren't stalls around urinals is because most men know to be discreet and not expose their buns to everyone.

Of course, in recent years they've put up those mini divider walls between the urinals. I guess that's for the best. Privacy is the better option. Gone are the days of the old urinal troughs. Does anyone else remember those? It's a big, long tub with water running in it, big enough that four or five guys can sidle up and pee in it at the same time. They used to have one in the elementary school in Arimo. And, there was one in the Student Union building at Idaho State University. (I'm sure they've remodeled that bathroom and taken it out since I was there.) (Peeing really shouldn't be a group activity.)

Unfortunately, the surprise peep shows are not the only problem I encounter at the trucker's lounge restroom. Quite often, I enter to find another man's urine all over the toilet seat. (Like most public toilets, this one has no lid, just a seat that can raise or lower.) As near as I can figure, this occurs because the drivers are: a) too stupid to raise the seat; b) too lazy to raise the seat; or 3) incorrectly overconfident about their aim. (Oh, and by the way, "Another Man's Urine" would be a really bad name for a rock band, and an even worse name for a soft drink.)

I know a lot of couples have had many tense and terse moments arguing about the state of the toilet lid and seat. I am very grateful that my wife is intelligent and practical enough to not make an issue of this. It's pretty simple: if the seat is up, she puts it down before she sits. Just like it's simple for me: if the seat is down, I lift it before I pee. (I don't know why so many people have so much drama about this.)

I guess it all comes down to one simple motto: Look Before You Leak!

The End.

Now, please choose a title that best fits this story. Remember to fill the circle in completely and use only a #2 pencil, or the computer may not be able to correctly process your answers:

O A. The Room Without a View
O B. Twilight: New Moon
O C. Another Man's Urine
O E. Too Stupid and/or Lazy
O F. Look Before You Leak

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