Monday, 20 February 2012

The Bathroom Less Travelled

Right. I've got one foot in the stirrup. If someone could just push a little here...and here....and perhaps pull a little bit there... thank you. Now I'm on my high horse, and let me warn you, this post is going to be a bit of a rant. I don't normally rant but I find myself exceedingly annoyed today by something that happens pretty much daily at work. The sad thing is, before I began this post I wondered whether I was turning into my mother (whose best stories all, for some inexplicable reason, end up being about weeing herself in various locations and in various stages of inebriation) but I shun this thought in favour of entertaining you with said rant. Let the tirade begin.

Firstly, I consider any bathroom to be a sacred place. To me, a bathroom is like Vegas - whatever happens there, stays there. Many private things are done in the bathroom and need never ever be discussed outside of it. The first rule about the bathroom is, you don't talk about the bathroom. This is in part because I have had many accidents in the bathroom (it's true that it is in fact the most dangerous place in the home, but I suspect for most people this is not because they have ever tried to rhythmically shave their legs while listening to Disturbed and balancing an array of rubber ducks on their head) which I have not and will not share with anyone, except perhaps on my deathbed. Some stories are best left untold. The scars have mostly healed. Mostly.

The toilet at work is a likewise sacred place. Because of the layout of the department and because I work with senior staff (I use 'senior' to mean 'important', rather than 'elderly' otherwise this post would already be heading in a totally different and perhaps slightly tragic direction), we have an individual room with one toilet, rather than the room with multiple stalls used by the peasants across the corridor. I really enjoy this toilet. It has a locking door, which of course is a basic part of any bathroom - although I must admit I have worked in more than one place which did not care about this idea and seemed to view hinges as an optional extra, which developed my calf muscles nicely over the years - and is rather flatteringly lit by pleasant lights. The door itself has a small indicator on it which displays a green sign when the door is unlocked, and a red sign when the door is locked, corresponding to the universal colours for "stop" and "go". I realise that I am stating basic facts but trust me. It's about to get real, yo.

So, earlier today I visited the bathroom. Imagine my shock and horror when, in the middle of a perfectly nice and relaxing wee, I was rudely interrupted by someone jiggling the door handle. If I'm honest, 'jiggling' is too nice a word to use. This person basically threw their entire weight at the door several times, completely disregarding the red sign which clearly indicated that the toilet was occupied. If you have ever been in this situation, you will understand the level of discomfort I experienced (I don't know if anyone has ever tried to stand up in panic during a wee, but I suspect the consequences would be dire) while this happened. It made me wonder two things - firstly, whether whoever was on the other side of the door was such a complete imbecile that they were unable to grasp that the red sign and the fact that they couldn't open the door as indicators that the room was occupied, and if so, I worry about the responsibilities they have within my company; secondly, whether their need for a toilet was so immediate, so extreme, that trying to ramraid a solid six-foot wooden door was preferable to walking fifteen feet or so to the next available bathroom.

This wouldn't be so bad if it had been the first time, but I have been with this company for over four years now and I experience this exact situation, on average, about four times a week. It ruins my wee. I don't have many small pleasures, and I really don't ask for much from life, but I do expect to be able to vacate my bladder in peace.

If you'll excuse me, I've got some unfinished business to attend to. It's Yo Momma. And she doesn't like to be kept waiting.


  1. Ha! You delight me with your wee-related puns. More please.

  2. This scenario regularly occurs in my place of work also - there are 5 toilets (THERE! ARE! FIVE! TOILETS! - ubiquitous Star Trek joke) in a row, each one a self-contained room with a lockable door and green/red engaged indicator. 2x Womens, 2x mens, 1x wheelchair access

    Many a time I have sat in quiet contemplation when some ruffian has tried the door handle repeatdly - sometimes with an audible "oh" other times seemingly in disbelief at the outrage of the door being somehow barred from the inside, before they amble 1 metre further down the corridor to use the next available room. I have often been tempted once I have emerged from my contemplation to rattle their door handle in a similarly aggressive fashion as "how do you like it?" kind of futile gesture... but then I think that this might make them feel justified in that "Clearly *everyone* is unable to find the RED ENGAGED SIGN OF DOOM beside the handle too!"

    I imagine this woman to be an uppity be-twinset and pearl'd hoighty-toighty type.

    ..or a monster. With claws. and a dagger. and red eyes.

    1. btw, "rattle their door handle" is not a euphemism.

    2. But its such a great euphemism! See also: engaging their sign, bolting their door, etc. Could be a whole new craze :)

      I'm so glad you mentioned the Indignant Gasp of the Bathroom Burglar, because that is one of the worst parts about the entire situation. I have taken to waiting, like a ninja, next to the door so that when one of these idiots attempts to break in, I simply swing the door open and glare at them. This has foiled only one so far, but you know what they say about giving a man a fish so he can eat for a day...