My Own Worst Enemy

I know I probably come off as a pretty angry person due to these posts, and you probably imagine me yelling at people a lot in real life, but, Dear Reader, I promise you, I’m actually pretty chill. Some might even call me nice. Too nice. Nice to the point where I let people walk all over me on occasion. And so nice I will walk all over myself.

Someone was on the phone while in the bathroom at work today. The public restroom. Talking. I really want to not care what people do, but I wish people wouldn’t try to hold phone conversations in echo chambers because I am such a spaz that I insist on being extra quiet so I don’t disturb them. How fucked up is that? The answer is: totally fucked.

And it’s no one’s problem but my own, I acknowledge that wholeheartedly, but this is the person that I am, and if bitching about it on the internet is my only reprieve then just let it be, okay?

So someone’s in the disabled stall on their phone having their conversation, and I’m being extra dainty in my stall, not that anything I’m doing would make that much noise, mind you, since I don’t shit at work. But I’m being delicate and quiet nonetheless.

It’s also the first day of my period, so I’ve got a tampon in my pocket. I pull it out extra quietly, and I open the wrapper even more quietly than I would normally because gods forbid the other women in the restroom know what you’re doing in the privacy of your own stall which happens to also be the only fucking place you could possibly change a tampon anyway.

So in taking extra care to be quiet, I inexplicable also am very soft-handed, barely gripping the plastic applicator. Don’t interrupt the woman speaking very loudly about her child to someone who is not doing a very good job watching them, I hiss at myself, disposing of the wrapper. And then, tragedy. A perfectly good tampon slips out of my hands and onto the disgusting public restroom floor.

I binned it, of course, and since it’s day one I had to create a makeshift toilet paper pad and waddle back to my desk where I decided to wait it out til I had to pee again which was inevitably less an hour later.

It ended up being totally fine because whatever, that’s life, right? But I’m really amazed at myself here. Amazed at the idiocy. Why did I let that happen? Why can my grip be so easily influenced by some stranger who I know, logically, would not care if they heard me fiddling with sanitary products and even if they did care THAT’S RIDICULOUS AND NOT MY PROBLEM? Why is this who I am?

I pondered this for way too long today. It even depressed me a little. But then, THEN, there was a tub of chocolates left out for our department and honestly, it mattered so very little after that. I almost stopped asking myself why I do this to myself.

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Things I Don’t Fucking Understand: Lysol Aerosol Spray

Most of us have probably used it at some point in our lives with varying degrees of satisfaction. Personally, I feel like a spritz or two of any scented Lysol on shoes or bedsheets is quite enough. It has come to my attention, however, this feeling isn’t universal.

Some people appear to love Lysol Aerosol Spray in Crisp Linen scent with an intensity I have never experienced for, frankly, anything. They love it so much they want not just to bathe in it themselves, but they want to overzealously coat the world in its miasma. They love it so much they want to build it its own shelf. Don’t worry, I’ll elaborate.

There are two things I thought I knew about life: 1) The older you get, the worse your olfactory sense gets, and 2) Women don’t shit at work.

Only one of those turned out to be true. Guess which.

I work in a regular building for a regular company that does regular things. I actually love my job, but the specifics aren’t important here. What is important is that we have a pretty high ratio of women to men. Like probably two or even three to one. But we have an equal number of restrooms, which isn’t ideal, but this is how buildings are built. I rarely have to wait for the restroom though, the issue actually revolves around the fact that these people seem to wait until they get to work to take their twice-daily dumps. Too few toilets swallowing too many turds. The plumbing is legit a mess.

Maybe this is normal behavior? I have a pretty good diet, and I can shit twice a day (Blog Idea: Facts About Me No One Needs To Know). I, however, do not know many people who can say they dependably take one whole shit every single day. The Standard American Diet is just not fibrous enough. But despite knowing otherwise (I see the lunches), you’d think I work at a vegan co-op based on the frequency with which the people in this building shit.

Shit-shaming aside, the people I work with have a second problem: they love Lysol. And these Lysol-lovers are menaces. Another fact you should know about me is that I drink a LOT of water, upwards of 80 to 100 ounces a day, so I take an hourly, but incredibly fast, trip to the bathroom. I am intimately acquainted with bathroom issues like the sink that constantly leaks or the toilet that’s attached to the men’s room that we all refer to as a “ride” to use. But the Lysol use takes the cake. Let me describe to you the Worst Case Scenario:

You’ve just entered the stall and seated yourself (because in this scenario you are a woman and you sit to pee–deal with it). Someone enters the stall beside you. Fine, there are only two anyway. But then you hear it. That familiar sound of can scraping ever so delicately against metal. Your bathroom partner hasn’t even undone their pants yet and they’re ALREADY PREPARED TO SPRAY. You panic. A quick exit is your only hope to survive the coming onslaught, but there’s no way you’ll make it. Your fate was sealed before your cheeks ever hit the waxy, blotting paper cover.

Your panic has stopped you up momentarily. Your urethra has dammed and so are you. You take a deep breath, your last for your bathroom duration, then break free. The force with which you evacuate your bladder would alert your stall-mate to call for medical attention if they could hear the fire-hose-like stream assailing the bowl. But they can’t hear it. Because they’re spraying. And spraying. AND SPRAYING. Dear god they’ve been spraying for a full 30 seconds. And you’re still peeing so hard you’re practically levitating, but it’s no use. Crisp Linen scent has already reached you, enveloping you in its disinfectant haze. Everything goes fuzzy and you nearly pass out trying to hold your breath against it as you fumble for the toilet paper, aim for your nethers, then realize it doesn’t matter if you get a UTI if you’re already dead from asphyxiation, and burst forth from the stall like a pig escaping slaughter.

People do this, I presume, because they are under the impression there’s all kinds of ass bacteria already on the seat that they’re magically spraying away before they sit, or they know they’re going to unleash liquid hell from their bowels and are pregaming the bowl for what is to come. Either way, the only thing it succeeds in doing is shortening everyone within 50 feet’s lifespan via aerosol-induced lung cancer. And there are NO EXCUSES for this behavior. Alas, my coworkers are some of the worst offenders.

Every damn stall in our building has its own can of Lysol which in and of itself is ridiculous, plus an extra two cans on the sink counters, and the frequency of use of the spray is criminal at best, but this–ALL OF THIS–is not even what pisses me off the most. It’s the Lysol Shelf™.

No, there isn’t an actual shelf built for Lysol–that, at this point, I would support. No. There is actually a tiny metal garbage can attached to the wall for the disposal of feminine hygiene products with a little lid that happens to be the perfect width on which to place a can of Lysol. If you’re not familiar with pads and tampons, they’re typically removed inside the stall and need to be disposed of inside the stall but cannot be flushed. Most women’s restrooms have lovely condescending signs reminding you of this fact, very frequently on little metal plaques with quotation marks around the wording as if it’s some sort of incredibly deep historical quote. Someday I’ll have enough forethought to print out labels so I can stick “ – Eleanor Roosevelt” to one of them.

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Why the fuck is it in quotes?

So thankfully there are these little receptacles in the stalls of women’s restrooms for just this sort of thing, and they’re typically located right at toilet paper height, and, without a hitch, in my workplace they are used for storing the Lysol. No matter how many fucking times I remove the can to place it anywhere else in the stall, it always magically ends up right back in exactly the place where it doesn’t belong: holding down a lid that only needs to be lifted when the user has exactly no hands to remove the can because they’re holding onto A BLOODY FUCKING TAMPON. And no, that’s not fake-Brit speak. We are talking about actual blood. From the vagina.

There’s no way to non-passively-aggressively address this issue. The only response I can think of is to write a note and tape it to the lid that reads:

“This is not the place for Lysol, but if you insist on putting it back here, please know that we’re both touching the same can, but I’m doing so with bloody hands.”

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The bane of my existence.

I could get more aggressive and remind them that just because some of their periods stopped with the end of the Bush era doesn’t mean the rest of us ceased menstruating as well, but truly I don’t know what age demographic is doing this. It could be inconsiderate Millennials, but we’re pretty obsessed with periods, so I doubt it.

The point is, I don’t understand why there are so many cans of Lysol in the bathroom at all, I don’t understand the need to saturate the very air so thickly that you’d kill a whole flock of canaries were they with you, and I don’t understand the obsession with Lysol Aerosol Spray in Crisp Linen scent’s own person shelf that is not a shelf at all.

I just don’t fucking understand.