Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gross Day

Incident #1:  The first thing I noticed when I went into the bathroom stall at work were nail clippings on the floor.  I studied them for a moment, and then a wave of horrible realizations washed down upon me.  These clippings are evidence that, 1.) someone was clipping his fingernails on the toilet, 2.) in a public restroom, 3.) onto the floor, 4.) leaving it for others to see/clean up.  Serioulsy, WTF is wrong with some people?   

Welcome to the bathroom!

At first I thought they were toenails, because some of them were really big.  But then I realized (hoped!) they must have just come from someone with really big thumbs.  Because if those were toenail clippings, it adds a whole new level of creepiness.  Aside from the horrible image of someone sitting on a public toilet and clipping toenails, it also means the person was barefoot.  In a men's room stall. If you've ever seen a public restroom men's stall, you know the last thing you want to be in there is barefoot. 


Incident #2: I dropped a library book into a public toilet.

There was a good reason why I had the book with me, and it was not, as one would assume, to read it.  (I don't deny that I read on the toilet, but not usually in a public bathroom.)  You see, I was at our satellite campus giving a library presentation, and I had my portfolio with handouts and notes in it, and a library book to read during the dinner break between classes.  After my classes, I had to go to the bathroom before my long drive home.  I stepped into the stall and tried to figure out where to put my portfolio and book.  (This is one of my biggest complaints about public bathroom stalls-- there is never a good place to put my stuff.  It's even worse when there's no hook on the door to hang up my coat. Then I usually have to place it in the corner on the floor. Ugh.)

Where do I put my stuff?

So I placed the portfolio on top of the toilet paper dispenser, and it was held up against the wall by the handicap rail.  (Yes, I was using the handicap stall.  No one else was in there.)   

Like this, only imagine the toilet paper in a metal box dispenser. 

There was no good place for the book, though, so I tried to rest it on top of the rail, up against the portfolio.  Bad idea.  The book was too thick for the rail and tumbled down, and to my horror it fell into the open toilet.

I acted fast, quickly fishing the book out.  Luckily, the toilet water was "clean"-- it hadn't been used yet. Only the top edge of the book was submerged for a few scant seconds.  If the Five Second Rule applied to books falling in toilets, then I would have been safe.  A kitten bookmark I'd been using fell back into the toilet, and I let it go, figuring it was beyond saving.  Collateral damage.  I used toilet paper to wipe off the book.  The glossy cover dried pretty easily, but the top 2-3 inches of the pages were varying degrees of wet.

I washed my hands and then held the book under the air dryer, fanning the pages under it to get them dry.

A sanitary way to dry your hands, or a book you just dropped into the toilet


The book has dried, and it really doesn't seem to be in that bad of shape.  Some of the pages are a little crinkly on top, the way they get when there's slight water damage.  But other than that, it's a perfectly serviceable book.

Not my library book


It fell into the toilet.  I'm perfectly willing to pay for it and tell the library I damaged it, but what I'm reluctant to do is tell them how I damaged it.  "Um, sorry, but I dropped this into the toilet."  Can't I just tell them it fell into some water?  That's not a lie.  Because if you look at it, it looks fine.  I've seen much worse. But they probably have a right to know what kind of wet it got.

The other issue: I usually read my library books when I'm eating.  During breakfast and lunch I will read.  That means that the book I dropped into the toilet is near my food.  On the table.  This should gross me out, but here's the thing. I guarantee that you've touched, eaten, and somehow come into contact with much less  
sanitary things than my library book.  It reminds me of a study I once heard about.  A student had tested the bacteria levels in a fast-food bathroom and compared to the levels in the drink dispenser.  There were more germs in the drink dispenser.  You see, a bathroom gets cleaned regularly.  Other things don't. (I wasn't able to find the original study, but I found another one that said fecal material was found on drink dispensers:

I don't point all this out to gross you out.  Just to say that, where germs are concerned, our fears are often misplaced.


Incident #3: When I came home from a long day of toilet mayhem, I went into my bedroom to change out of my work clothes. I saw that one of my cats had puked on my Nikes in the closet.  Lovely.  I often come home to cat puke, but it's usually on the carpet.  Puking into my shoes is a new one.

Fur and puke corridor: The usual place where cats leave their "surprises"

Thanks, kitties.  That's the cherry on top of my shit sundae.  


asplenia said...

I just want to say that your entire post made me die laughing!! That video is hilarious (just posted on FB!). I hhhate the lack of places to put things in restrooms. Things are muuuch dirtier than people guess so I wouldn't be as skeeved as some but it still made me giggle.

Tim said...

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

As a follow-up, I finished the book and took it to the library. Although it hardly looked damaged at all, I was honest and told them I dropped it in some water. They're charging me $29 for it! I don't mind the $$, but it annoys me that they'll probably take it out of circulation for such minor damage. It was their only copy, and it was a good book.