No, this post is not about sex in airport restrooms. (Although I promise if I ever have sex in an airport bathroom, you’ll read about it here.) It is, however, about a public restroom, and as such, this post involves a bit of unpleasantness. Fair warning – the men’s room at my office is the subject of today’s post. (On the other hand, there are no politicians mentioned here, so that should balance out the “ick” factor.)
The building I work in is nice. It’s a nice office in a nice area, surrounded by nice landscaping and full of nice furnishings, and populated by nice people. It is a pleasant place, a harmless place. A place I am proud to walk into every weekday morning.
There is, however, one dank and dismal corner of this otherwise fine building that threatens homeland security and undermines the sanctity of corporate America, and that corner is the men’s room on the 2nd floor.
The room itself is decorated in a color that is probably known by designers by some foofy-sounding name like “Moroccan Sand” or “Desert Mirage”, but is more suitably tagged as “Business Drab”: beige tiles and beige-toned granite with beige paint on the walls. Still, the light fixtures are recesssed, the sinks feature high-end automatic faucets, the stalls have toilets with pressurized, eardrum-splitting flushers, and the urinals are sleek and stylish porcelain-and-chrome wall-mounted receptacles.
Or at least, they are intended to be receptacles.
The floor beneath the urinals is what’s causing the disturbance in The Force. This space should be displayed in the dictionary next to the word “foul”. The beige floor tiles are coated with (I warned you about this) layers of urine that are weeks –if not months–old.
If you took a picture of a Rorschach ink blot with an old-school camera, took the pictures to the one-hour photo, went next door to get a gelato, then got the photos back an hour later and opened the envelope and took out the negative of the Rorschach ink blot photo, then blew up the negative to 3′ x 6′ size and put it on the floor so that the negative image of the black ink blots was instead shown as whitish-transparent blots – THAT would approximate the look of the floor beneath the urinals in the men’s room of Suite 200.
I could pin the blame on the men using the facilities. Sure, there’s truth to the old saying, “No matter how much you jiggle and dance, the last few drops end up in your pants” – meaning not all of it gets where it’s meant to go. But the saying says “your pants”. It doesn’t say, “If your willy is oozing and sore, the last few drops end up on the floor” — NOBODY is looking for the floor to be soiled by your wild wiggling. So yes, I could be directing this at the careless men who –like dogs emerging from a bathtub– habitually shake themselves dry, thereby spraying everything around with droplets.
The focus of my disdain, though, is the building’s owners, and the practitioners of the custodial arts that service Suite 200. I see the cleaning crew on nights when I’m at the office late – they come in after most everyone else has gone, and they go from room to room emptying trash, wiping down surfaces, vacuuming the floors — so I know they exist, and I know they are working. They just aren’t working on the bathroom floor.
And one would think that for all the money the owners of our building make (and trust me, this company is massive and far-reaching, with no shortage of cash and with such influence that I refuse to name them here for fear of ending up in a shallow grave in the desert) from exorbitant rents in this area of Orange County, they could at least afford to supply the cleaning crew with some high-tech janitorial equipment like a MOP AND BUCKET.
I am convinced the men’s room floor has not seen a mop since mid-2009. And while the custodial crew are very much on top of it when it comes to re-stocking the paper supplies in the restrooms, none of them seems to mind that their lack of mopping has turned the men’s room floor into a thriving shrine to filth. It is so bad that when I step up to the porcelain portal, I have to place my feet a whole yard apart to avoid standing in the remnants of pee-challenged men. So basically, when I go, I’ve got the stance of a gunslinger in an old West bordertown.
I heard a co-worker complaining to the receptionist about it the other day. He used words like “disgusting” and “gross” and “ewww”, and the receptionist nodded sympathetically and said “I’ll let them know”, but I knew nothing would come from it. The receptionist is a woman – she can’t appreciate the idea of standing in another man’s urine. (Or maybe she can, I don’t know how she spends her “off time”, and I’m not here to judge.)
I would never defend a lowlife politician who gets busted for illicit sex in an airport men’s room and flat-out denies it. But I am saying that the defense of “I have a wide stance” should not be discounted entirely. There are reasons a wide stance is necessary. I’ve seen what ends up on the floors of the men’s room, and I gotta say I’d do whatever I could* to avoid putting my shoe in it.
(*Note: “whatever I could” does not include soliciting sex from an undercover police officer. Just so we’re clear on that.)