Archive for the ‘handwashing’ Category

The Toothbrusher and Other Non-Combatants

I’m trying to pull together a full list of all the non-combatant characters you might find in the course of your battles with the forces of Oblivious Dumpage. I had a close encounter with one the other day.  The Toothbrusher.

This, too, can be used to offend your coworkers!

This, too, can be used to offend your coworkers!

Now, I’ve met a few of these in my time, and let me just point out that, while I’m a fan of oral hygiene, I find that at-work-toothbrushers tend toward a bit odd and a bit over-the-top. Is it really crucial to get an after-lunch brushing in? Or a 4:15 one?

I have floss at my desk. I generally only use it after consuming a peach or another hand fruit prone to tooth-stick-betweenage. But occasionally I feel especially hygienic, so I whip out the floss and do the whole spiel. Then I leave it on someone else’s desk. That was a joke.

But the Toothbrusher I recently encountered is so beyond all other inappropriate restroom conduct that I’m sure some won’t believe my retelling of the experience.

He brushed for a full four minutes before I left the loo.  And he was still going strong.

I actually washed my hands and stared at him to see if he was spookable. Nope. Impervious, invulnerable, invincible, unstoppable. I then proceeded to pretend to need tissue for my impressively-large nose and pretended to really work at my nasal passages for several minutes, all while trying not to laugh. I failed.

Finally, I gave up. He may still be there. Here’s the thing, though. Have you ever seen those commercials about how “our brand of toothpaste is far superior to the other brands while using the same ingredients”? Notice nobody in those commercials ever seems to be actually, you know, using actual toothpaste? Where’s the foam?

It’s running down this guy’s hand and onto his forearm. I AM NOT KIDDING!!!

I’ve actually seen this guy in there before but not reported on it, so I noted that as he approached the sink with toothbrush and toothpaste (in a sealed, brand-new box – I think he used the whole thing), he rolled up his sleeves. Good thing, too. Because the foam was covering his hands and running down toward his elbow!!!

My current theory is that this guy isn’t trying to clean his teeth. He’s actually using a wire brush and planning to put on a new coat of paint soon.

Now, I classify this guy as a non-combatant, because he never enters the stall.  And he’s really just using sink space.  True, he’s a deadly danger to Secret Agent Man, who will wait until everybody’s gone before he exerts himself.  And it’s possible he could throw off your Exit Strategy, because even his vigorous brushing doesn’t provide quite adequate Cover Sound.  So if you don’t want to be busted by him (even though he’s in an advanced vegetative state as near as I can tell), you’ll have to wait him out.  Which means another Stall Patron might wait him out.  Which means the Other Guy might want to Leave When You Do.  So you could be busted by Other Guy.

I guess Toothbrusher really isn’t a non-combatant after all.  He’s actually more of a Freak Earthquake That Damages Both Sides.  Emphasis on his being a Freak.

Oh, right. Other characters. They’ll have to wait for later. But here’s a partial list:

  • The handwasher (they actually exist)
  • The face/hands/feet washer (knew a Muslim guy once who did all these)
  • The hawker (yeah…ew)
  • The Janitor (use him against Secret Agent Man if you know his schedule)
  • The hairdo/shirt-tuck/ensemble checker (usually faked when there’s a Full House or Inadequate Buffer)

Maybe I’ll hit them sometime on the blog.  But they’ll definitely be in the book.


Ringers, and All The News That Is Poos

Pardon me while I bask in the glory of the subject line I just created.  It’s a thing of beauty.  It’s actually one of the things I enjoy most, coming up with great titles.  For instance, when my mother was thinking of hanging out her shingle as a lactation consultant, I told her she should try these taglines: “We bring out the breast in you!” and “You’ve tried the rest, now try the breast!”

Moving on.  I’ve decided to reveal another character name. After, that is, I report that I took one M.K.’s advice on dealing with a Ringer.  Hmm…I suppose this is a character name I’ve not previously revealed.  Oh well.  He’s not a major player.

So, the Ringer is a guy who talks on his phone in the bathroom.  This particular guy evidently carried a conversation into the Smelly Confines and took a Stand-Upper.  His technique was impressive, however, as he didn’t say a word for a full two minutes.  And then he started in at about 70dB.  I laughed out loud, then took my friend’s advice.

I flushed.  Repeatedly.  This was easy, as I was only in the stall to change clothes.  I also coughed really loudly as Mr. Ringer took to the sink for his requisite fake handwashing.  I hope he appreciated my efforts.

Anyway.  Have you ever been in the stall, changing clothes, when you realize that, after all, the throne is right there, and you haven’t gone in a while, and I mean, now’s as good a time as any…

Me neither.  But if it had happened, I’d have noticed a subtle shuffling of the Old Fishwrap in the stall next to me.  That’s right, I realized I was dealing with (and again I must ask you not to scream):

The Newspooper.

He’s a formidable enema enemy.  Because he ain’t goin’ nowhere.  He’s got him some serious perusing to do, and ain’t nobody gonna kick him out.  Now, maybe you’ll get lucky and he’s just got the Sports section.  But if it’s baseball season, he could decide to pore over every box score from yesterday’s games.  Face it:  he’ll be a while.  You have choices here.  You can:

1.) Bail.  There’s no shame in this.  He’s a toughie, and if you’re not prepared, he might make you cry.  Besides, if you’re worried about him popping out of his stall and catching you washing your hands (and putting a face to what he just heard you do), don’t be.  He has to fold that paper up.  It’s a thirty second job at the least.  Plenty of time to give your hands a thorough cleaning (if you’re into that).

2.) Destroy him.  Okay, so we’re actually talking about defeating him when he’s not really in the game.  Actually, he’s not really thinking about you in the other stall at all (like, say, Secret Agent Man is).  He doesn’t care that you’re there.  He’s reading, and will continue to read until such time as he stops, er, continuing to read.  Basically, he’s unpredictable.  So don’t do this unless you’re prepared.  And by prepared, I mean armed with a medium-length novel or similarly lengthy reading material.  A Kindle will do nicely, too.  You’re not guaranteed to win just because you’ve got more pages, but at least you’ve got a shot at it.

One aspect I just thought of is that Newspoopers are known to follow certain schedules.  Which means you can use him against Secret Agent Man if you want to.  And by that, I mean forcing SAM to stay longer than he perhaps wanted to, while allowing you to hand-off the domination of Mr. Agent Man.  If you can hold him in there until NP arrives, you can make Secret Agent Man’s life just that much more difficult.   And that’s always worth doing.  Maybe I’ll think about this angle a bit and blog more on it later.

Restroom Offenses: A Few Bad Men

Sometimes Restroom Offenses come in waves.  The other day, I witnessed and took part in several during one visit to the Loo.

Right before a totally unnecessary lunchtime departmental meeting, I headed for the restroom to get rid of some coffee (okay, so it was a non-coffee day, sue me).  One of my coworkers had the same thought, and in spite of my objection, he chose to be my Wingman (offense #1).  Then he proceeded to Pair Up with me by taking the urinal next to me instead of taking Junior (offense #2, but it’s not his fault Junior wasn’t in the middle).

Then we chatted the whole time, as I was lecturing him about the wingman thing and the pairing (offense #3, mea culpa).

Then another dude came in and went for Junior.  Full House.  The nightmare scenario, really.  (I could charge him with an offense of Pairing, but that ship had already sailed.)

Then yet another dude came in and waited for a urinal to free up (offense #4).  Allow me to dwell here a bit.  There is absolutely no excuse for queueing behind a Full House, particularly when there’s an empty stall available.  (Wait, can it be a Full House when Stalls are Available?  Must think on this.  Nomenclature needs defining.)

To add insult to injury, he queued at a closer-than-comfortable distance.  Then he took his turn, faked his handwashing (offense #5), and left.

Did I cause all of this?  I mean, when I recognized that my coworker was going to go all Wingman, I could’ve bailed.  Then there would’ve been no Full House (or Three of a Kind), and no queuing.  Dude still would’ve faked it, though.  But that’s still one offense (and a common one) versus five.  What was I thinking?

I need to compile the Rules and assign them numbers.  In just this list of offenses, I’ve got:

  • No Wingman
  • No Pairing
  • No Chatting
  • No Queuing
  • No Faking

Since this is my first post in several weeks, I’m asking (nay, begging) for some feedback here.  Nobody’s been submitting Oddities or Atrocities.  Do I need to do all the work here?  Lob me something.  Anything.  Please?

Who's bringing the cake??

As my good friend and colleague over at Collateral Bloggage mentioned, today is Global Handwashing Day!!!!

To honor the holy day, I’ve created signs (images from the GHD website) and posted them in the restrooms near my desk.  I’ve also pinned one to the outside of Mr. Non-Handwashing-Lifetime-Achievement-Award’s cube.

Doing my part...too subtle?

Doing my part...too subtle?

If you couldn’t read it, here’s what it says:

Take it...use this power only for good
Take it…use this power only for good

If you’d like to post one in your area, feel free to take it (click it to go full size, then print and distribute).  Even if it’s too late to hit the holiday…

Restroom Offenders: Hair we go!

Sorry for the drop-off in visual materials (heh…just noticed an accidental pun).  There’s only so much original stuff I can come up with.  I need submissions!  With me here, Mr. Hall?  But, to today’s topic…

I’ll admit to a certain disdain (read: abject hatred) for those who pretend to wash their hands after using the toilet. Some do it out of habit, not really thinking they 1.) need to wash, or 2.) require actual water and/or soap to accomplish said cleansing.

Today I encountered a man who obviously fell into category #1. He made no attempt to either wash or appear to be washing. He did turn the faucet on for something under a second, but he didn’t make any of the typical faker moves.  No obligatory and abbreviated scrubbing (normally lasting somewhere around a femtosecond), no going for the foamy soap which is easily washed off without cleansing effect (saw that guy yesterday).

Nope, he just wet his fingers and used them to smooth out his luxurious mane of hair (read: he had nearly none, but what was there definitely needed some smoothing).

So, I respect his “I don’t need to wash” stance being followed up by no attempt to deceive.  I just hope I never touch anything he touches.

BTW, he was a stall denizen.  Just to put the severity on his case of Noneedtowash-itis (do not notice the reason I added that hyphen).

Restroom Oddities #4: Auto-manic Dispensers

In general, I’m in favor of automatic dispensers in restrooms.  Automatic soap dispensers are a bit irritating, because if they don’t work, you’re stuck with just water, and most of the time you’ve already touched the faucet, so you’re completely screwed.  If it’s paired with an auto-faucet, you’re still fine (or at least not worse-off).

The auto-towel-dispenser is a nice innovation, too.  I really hate having to touch the towel dispenser, knowing all the fakers did it before me.  It’s a huge step up from the blower, too.  It’s a bit irritating when the dispenser is set to give a too-short towel, though.  I understand you want to save trees.  So use post-consumer paper products, and give us a length of towel that works so we don’t take two.  Fine.

There is a dark side to the automatic dispenser (of anything), however.  On one side, you’ve got the unresponsive dispenser (most irritating in faucets…I’m convinced you get what you pay for).  On the other side, there’s this:

I always like my towels to be dipped in the garbage first...

I always like my towels to be dipped in the garbage first...

I wish I’d had my camera with me last week.  I was in the stall, and this dispenser put out a new towel every eight seconds or so.  By the time I was out, it looked like a huge ribbon candy had landed on top of the garbage can.  Naturally, as soon as I ripped off the big towel (and disposed of it), it took about fifteen seconds before it would dispense another.

One more thing.  If we’re going for Greenitivity, don’t automatic faucets make sense?  I mean, proper hand-washing technique includes turning the faucet off using a towel, which means you’re leaving the water running for an extra few seconds.  Using an automagic one would eliminate both the extra running time and the extra towel.

And one more thing.  I’m not a fan of auto-flush toilets.  Urinals, yes, but nobody likes the random flush while sitting down.