There are a number of etiquette rules one must follow while using a public restroom, and those rules are compounded when that public restroom is in your place of work, and shared with your colleagues.
Rule No. 1: Double flush. If/when you absolutely must go No. 2 while at work, get rid of the evidence as best you can. Public sanitation systems have never been so sophisticated — take advantage of them!
Rule No. 2: Wash your hands. It’s the right thing to do.
Rule No. 3: Refrain from taping inspirational messages and motivational thoughts to the toilet seat.
I arrived in the ladies the other day to find that The Universe had gone out of its way to type out a note, print it, and tape it crookedly to the underside of the toilet lid. The note read:
Give thanks that your life is exactly as it is.
Decide that 2018 will be the happiest year of your life yet.
Follow your heart and instincts down new paths.
– The Universe
“Hey, thanks, Universe, but I’m going to have an accident, so before I follow my heart, I’m going to follow my bladder,” I thought to myself.
Job done, hands washed, I went back to my office and considered this message. It got under my skin.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve stumbled upon something unpleasant in the bathroom but it was the first time The Universe had attempted to connect with me in this space. There’s usually always some messaging in public bathrooms. Sometimes, the messages are simple, “WASH YOUR HANDS,” and, “OUT OF ORDER.” Sometimes, the messages are more complicated. Last month I learned how to identify someone in the midst of an overdose, and where to inject Naloxone for best results, all while going pee.
But in this place of bathroom business, I’m not open to messages from The Universe; I am here because I have a job to do. Sometimes, that job is unpleasant. Always, that job is brief. In this space, often scented with the efforts of previous occupants, I try not to linger. I barely breathe; there’s no time to give thanks, follow my heart or consider new paths.
Put more bluntly, if The Universe were a person, it would be standing on my doorstep, handing me a Watchtower pamphlet while my dinner boiled over on the stove.
Your timing, Universe, was extremely poor.
There are other places in which I’d be more receptive to The Universe’s machinations. The doctor’s office for instance, as I’m captive here. When I’m not staring at my phone, I’m usually just eyeing up posters of anatomy, which are educational, but if The Universe opted to post its message beside the male reproductive system, I’d probably spare it a glance.
The Universe may also wish to reconsider method of delivery. Paper and tape might have been OK years ago when there weren’t so many other messages competing for our attention, but these days, it would be wise to investigate podcasts, maybe run some promotions through social media, or even try to crack its audience through a clever billboard, or a nicely situated bus stop bench.
All of these options would be more permanent and less irritating than the paper and tape, which is easily chucked into to the trash, or wadded up to use in place of paper towel. Or worse.