Saturday, June 20, 2015

Back in the toilet

Seriously, I am not obsessed with toilets, despite the fact that I have written a few times around the subject. There was most recently the toilet roll discussion, and quite a long time ago I wrote about the toilet seat positioning, then there was a piece dealing with the inadequacies of the toilet in the office where I previously worked.

This time, I am  back in the toilets at the office - different office. This is a brand new building, in fact it isn't even completed - the top floor is still windowless and unfinished. But we moved in this month (not into the top floor of course) and immediately the toilet grabbed my attention. I suppose it is relatively normal, after all, apart from the hours spent at my own desk, the only other place I visit with any frequency is the ladies bathroom. Don't get me wrong - I don't run to the toilet every 20 minutes. But it is one place that cannot be avoided.

I suppose I get frustrated when things are not done right, and yes, I guess that means right according to me, after all that really is all I have to judge by.

But when I explain it to you, I am sure you will agree. The first and biggest annoyance is the fact that the stall doors do not have any display to indicate occupancy or vacancy. Yes, there are locks, but they are not the kind that slide a polite sign, red or green or 'occupied'  or 'vacant'. This problem could be tolerated if it were not for the fact that the doors have springs on them, so when you exit the stall, with the best will in the world, you can't leave the door open to show that it is available. It closes quietly but firmly behind you.

So, as I see it, you have three or four options. You can shove on the door to see if it will open - something I hate to do in case (as has often happened) someone has not locked the door and screams and embarrassment follow. Or, you can hunker down and peer under the doors, I am not keen on that idea because if someone came in while I was doing that, I could be accused of being a somewhat disgusting pervert. You could listen carefully outside each door to see if there were any sounds that might give a clue - again could be considered somewhat perverted. Finally, you could yell out 'anyone in there' like the cleaning crew do. I am not comfortable with the yelling idea either.

I reluctantly settled on a variation of the first choice. I walk briskly in as though heading for the last stall in the row, but casually push each door I pass with just one finger - if it moves without any screams from within, I nip into that stall. I might add that while I am there, should someone else come into the bathroom, I cough loudly so that they don't have to exercise their favorite method to locate an empty stall. Perhaps a sign on the inside of each stall 'Please cough while in situ' might help.

There are a few other things about these bathrooms that bother me, albeit less than the absence of a occupied sign.

On the wall opposite the stalls there are two .. things ... I am not sure what they are. They look like magazine racks. So I guess they are intended either for magazines for those who have time and inclination to linger over their ablutions, or else they are for placing paperwork or laptops while hurrying between meetings. So far I have never seen them being used by anyone.

Come to think of it, so far I am the only person I have ever seen in the bathroom closest to my office. One of the many bonuses of working in a male dominated occupation.

Another minor annoyance is the appallingly bad tile work on the walls. I mean seriously, I have tiled many walls and floors, and without training, I could do a better job. Thankfully it is not on the floor because the tiles are so uneven, someone would surely trip.

And last, but not least is the fact that there is a very nice sink, with a faucet that is motion activated, but the soap dispenser is not, and it is very close to the faucet. One must take great care when pumping the soap dispenser, to avoid activating a spray of water all over one's arm. I am trying to get into the habit of making sure my sleeves are well rolled up before pumping soap, at least I can dry my arm if it accidentally gets sprayed.

Oh and that is another thing I forgot, the paper towel dispenser is crammed full of very small pieces of paper - like the size of a Kleenex, and no matter how carefully you try to extract just enough to dry your hands (and possible one arm) - which I must say is quite a few pieces - you will get a big chunk of them come out, way more than you need.

It is all such a waste because I am sure that it cost quite a bit to put this inadequate bathroom together.

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