Thursday, January 27, 2011

workplace restrooms

So, let's say you've got to build an office building. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, right? Aside from all of the civil engineering, architecturing, and permit acquiring that goes on, one of the biggest challenges on your list, nay, the biggest challenge on your list is this: how exactly are you going to fit in the maximum number of cubicles? You've got to make sure that when the dude across from me blows his nose, I feel a waft of fresh air.

Now, a lot of people might give up at such a herculean task. They'd be tempted to say, "okay, you win, you win, everyone gets their own office with a door so you can finally focus instead of trying to work while everybody and their dog in the greater British isles decides to stand behind you and scream and play country music and emit rancid body odor."

But, in fact, you'll be happy to hear, nobody says ridiculous things like that because the thought of allowing people to work in peace is heretical to the mind of a true manager. "But how will my minions communicate if their elbows aren't in each other's noses??" is the common refrain I hear from managers as I travel the world.

The obvious solution to this problem is to save space and provide one bathroom stall for each gender for each office floor, each floor being staffed by approximately sixteen hundred and fifty-three diarrheic researchers. This makes sense because you don't want people wasting their precious work time doing other things like containing Indian-induced explosions in tiny porcelain bowls. Instead of that, they could spend their time praying with the piety of any priest, listening and counting to the number of exits and entrances. Is the restroom holding area down to zero people? Only the most advanced of Statisticians are able to perform such a delicate calculation while in such a precarious position.

One of my favorite things in life is attempting to use the bathroom and finding it occupied. It is the highest point of my day. It in no way causes me to feel sudden and insatiable rage. Conversely, it is deeply saddening to me to sit in comfort as a constant stream of people attempt to open the locked door. How terrible for them to be denied their relief! Why, I am shocked at the very notion that someone could possibly take joy in their suffering, and cackle at every turn of the knob.

If you are designing office buildings, you can further heighten the enjoyment of the overall experience by placing paper-thin walls between the male and female bathrooms. I've always been curious to know what kind of relationship my female co-worker has with her mother, and today, thanks you to, I found out.1

Other ways you can make the experience more enjoyable would be to have two burly construction workers follow me to the urinal, stand and pant behind me. You could have the female janitor only clean said restroom while I am present. You could send a woman and her grandson to watch me from behind, and make polite conversation as I fight all evolutionary reactions attempting to relax. You could close the bathroom down for two months for "construction" and ask me to pee in local businesses, causing me to prowl Palo Alto like a panhandler, trying to find places that don't know me by sight and have banned me from freeloading2 off their toilets.

You could schedule meetings at any time of the day, and, like clockwork, I will need to pee exactly four seconds before said meeting begins. You could send a man in before me, and ask him to stand at the urinal for a period of two minutes, doing nothing except pumping awkwardness in full force into the room. You could send in my coworker L., who, for reasons I do not understand, always always needed to use the urinal when I was in the stall. I recognize every single pair of shoes he owns.3

And finally, this restroom rage doesn't need to end at the office.4 If you're my roommate, you could hop on the bandwagon and pee with the door open, this being the door affording one a side view of all that occurs in the bathroom. Thanks for that. Appreciated. I really wanted that scarring mental image burned into my brain for all eternity. Please, don't burn in hell. Whatever you do.

1. I can think of no better sign of the derangement of humanity than the prevalence of toilet-bound cell phone conversations. Every time I hear someone chatting in a stall I really want to start yelling, "He's in the bathroom! He's in the bathroom! He's defecating right now!"
2. I am not responsible for whatever gross and disgusting pun you wish to make of this.
3. Don't be too amazed. He only wears one pair. They're black.
4. Allow me to direct you here for more reading on this delicate subject. And I'm sorry. This is juvenile. I've had the topic on my list of future items for at least eight months now, and finally decided to run with it. I know I've just lost respect from just about everybody on the planet, but I just couldn't help it. Off to the bathroom now...

1 comment:

Aroura said...

Oh, everyone's laughing, they just don't want to admit it. Bathroom humor never stops being funny. Never.