Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bathroom horror stories: Unclean hands on the frontline

The old saying goes that the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul, but I think the bathroom is a much more direct route.
            Heck, people lie with their eyes all the time.
I’m going to keep making eye contact and blinking at you to indicate I’m listening, but in reality I’m thinking who would win in a race between a turtle and sloth.
Bathrooms though, those don’t lie nearly as often. They tell you a lot about who a person really is, and in my experience, a lot of people are really gross.
Every so often at work, I’ll find myself pooping. Actually, that’s probably the worst way to put that. It makes it sound like sometimes I’m just sitting at my desk and suddenly poop starts coming out.
No, I’ll poop at work. In the bathroom, like we’re supposed to.
Anyway, so I’ll be there, in the stall, pooping, and sometimes another fellow will come in to use the urinal.
I’ve learned a great number of horrible and terrifying things about co-workers based solely on observing them through the gap between the stall door and the wall and also with my ears.
The most horrible-est and terrifying-est? It’s not how many people don’t wash their hands after handling their business in the restroom. Or how many people who I’m sure I’ve shaken hands with who don’t wash their hands.
No the worst part, the kind of knowledge that will make you start randomly pooping at your desk, is how many frontline people who I can only assume shake a metric ton of hands during their 9-5s don’t wash their hands.
We’re talking company representative types. People who interview job-seekers and lead meetings.
These are people who shake so many hands all day that they should be wearing Spider-Man-esque web slingers on their wrists, only instead of webs these things should shoot Purel directly onto their palms. I mean, I’m no giant fan of Purel, but that just sounds like basic hygiene.

And yet, I see them come in, hear them go about their biz and then watch them walk out again, most likely right into another meeting with their hands unclean-ed.
I think this is what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “The horror, the horror” at the end of “Heart of Darkness.” I’m almost certain of it.
I also know less disturbing bits of info, like who has a shy bladder (these folks always lay down a little cover fire by flushing the toilet first and then peeing, brilliant), whose bladder likes to take its time and so forth.
The hand thing is the creepy, nauseating main event.
I’m not a germaphobe. I like to be clean, but I’m not militant about it.
When my college went into a full-on Y2K-style panic during the H1N1 thing, I never stopped making fun of it. What is it about things that have both letters and numbers in the name that makes otherwise sane people immediately start running in circles and hyperventilating?
Maybe it’s Algebra’s fault.
I made fun of that because it was ridiculous overkill to encourage college students to clean their hands after every five steps.
In no way is it overkill to expect people to give their hands a good scrubbing after their excretory systems have a chance to do their thing.
And that goes for everybody, not just the perpetual hand-shakers out there. It’s Humanity 101. Remember? It was the lesson right before how to make tools out of rocks and right after why people who talk in movie theaters should all be rounded up and put into camps so we can keep an eye on them.
Simple, beginner-level stuff.
So you can keep looking people in the eye if you want, but if I want to learn what kind of man or woman someone is, I’m going to follow them into the bathroom.
Hmm … probably not the best way to put that one either.

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