punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Restroom Etiquette

When I was a young boy, I had my own bathroom. We lived in a big 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom split-level suburban home. My bathroom was in blue tile with matching countertop, had gold fleur-de-lie wallpaper, and was pretty much left alone, so I had bath toys everywhere, and the whole place got moldy because I never cleaned it very well. Oh, and the cat boxes were stored there, because it was my job to clean them. No one ever taught me how to go to the bathroom, since my mother didn't know how "boys plumbing worked," and my father couldn't have cared less. All I was ever taught was how to bathe, shampoo my hair, and wash my hands. But thanks to elementary school, they taught me how to brush my teeth, comb my hair, and clean up after myself. I was not alone, it was trained to all of us since kindergarten. Essences of good hygiene. We had films, workbooks, and everything.

So why is it, now that I am 35, that so many people have such poor restroom etiquette? When you use the restroom in public area shared with employees, like restaurants and grocery stores, they have a huge plastic chart with instructions on how employees MUST wash their hands. I wish we had something like this for our office. It would go a little something like this:


In accordance with proper hygiene and social graces, the following rules must be adhered when using the company's lavatorial facilities.

1. The restroom is not an appropriate area for social congregation. All employees must keep the area clear. Please do not block the doors by standing in front of them. Please do not block passages leading to any of the facilities inside by loitering. The restrooms are only for personal waste removal.

2. Please do not talk to people while they are excreting waste material. This causes embarrassment to many, and retards the excretion process in some personnel. When someone is cramped on a toilet seat, they usually do not want to hear about the latest football game, the system log reports, or the recent market gains. They simply wish to come in, excrete waste, and leave as quickly as possible. Even if the subject doesn't mind chatting, please refrain from doing so, since chatter can upset other people in the restroom. The same goes for talking on the cell phone. People do not want to hear, "So Barbara, I took the kids to soccer, and the nnggr**COACH SAID**aaahhh that he thinks little Susy has some talent [flussssshhhhh]."

3. Employees must refrain from excretional comments. Some bodily noises one cannot control, this is true. But phrases like, "Woah boy!" and "Wow, man, what did you EAT?" are unnecessary. Please do not hum, sing, or whistle. Even if music is playing over the intercom. No one wants to hear you sing, strain as the waste leaves the exit gate, and then resume with the tune. "Doo bee do bee dooo... doo doo nnGGHHHHaaaahhh... do dee doo..." Do not congratulate yourself like the exit is an impromptu jazz movement. "Oooh, yeahhh..."

4. Please clean up after yourself. Flush away any waste, toilet paper, and take away your newspaper. Please do not leave yellow water standing and walk away like a common farm animal. If the previous person left a mess, clean up after that person. It's not fair, but that's how it is. Simply taking a dump upon someone else's wad of paper and fecal matter like one adorns a birthday cake is disgusting, and will clog the toilet. Women take note: you cannot aim. Do not hover. Put down paper if you have to, but do not leave the seat as a yellow-stained ring. If you tinkle when you sprinkle, be neat and clean the seat. Do not clog the toilet if you use a lot of paper. If you have to use a lot of paper, use some, flush, then use the rest.

5. Please, for the love of God, wash your hands. This is how you wash your hands. Turn on warm water. Put soap on hands. Wash hands under warm water, scrubbing with fingers, between fingers, underneath nails, on the front and back of the hand. End at the wrist. Rinse thoroughly. No part of either hand should be dry. The whole process should take about 30 seconds. Less than that, you probably didn't get clean according to most OSHA standards, but as long as you used soap and scrubbed, you should be okay. Longer than that is a bit obsessive, unless your hands are really soiled with toner ink. Dry hands thoroughly so you don't leave wet spots on door handles.

I wish this was a policy that could be enforced. There have been some messes that I have seen where a common farm animal wouldn't have made. One office I worked at, someone was taking a dump on the drain in the middle of the floor. People peed on the wall next to perfectly functioning urinals. Not an accidental sprinkle, mind you, but a full splatter like they were aiming at the flies that collected in that bathroom. One person took a dump in the urinal. Sometimes, when I sit in my stall, I hear people come in, use the urinal, and walk out without flushing or washing their hands. I have come into stalls where there was a puddle of pee next to the toilet. What does this mean? Could they not aim? Was the toilet to good for them? Or does this point to some subtle revenge on the company?

I think about only 50% of the people I see wash their hands. Of the 50% that do, only half of those actually do it properly. Most turn on the water, use no soap, wiggle their hands under the water, and then flick their hands around to dry. It's like they go through the motions, but don't understand the reasoning behind the ritual. All they do is wet the germs, not remove them. A few, however, scrub to their elbows. That's a bit much for a tech office; we're not operating on a living body, here. But that's still better than the "wet and wiggle" method. Man, I touch door handles, keyboards, and computer mice after people like these.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000203.html
Tags: bathroom, humor, potty, signs, toilet
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