Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Attempting to use the ladies room at work...

I feel the need to whine about something. I work at a large university. Never before, in all of my years, have I encountered a ladies room situation as abysmal as the one in the library. I will grant, I have never traveled to a Third World country. But really, if it has to be compared to that, it must be pretty bad, right?

Here is a typical ladies room encounter in the life of the Catholic Librarian:

Enter ladies room. Nearly twist my ankle on a stray square of the toilet paper that is littered about the floor. Regain composure, and the hunt begins. The hunt...for a stall that has toilet paper actually on a roll in its proper location and not: (a) ripped and thrown to the floor, (b) already in place on the toilet seat and *previously sat on* by the last occupant, or (c) otherwise crumpled up and used in some sort of unpleasant, yet mysterious, fashion. Sometimes nefarious option (d) rears its ugly head, which means that the paper has already been used in the traditional sense, and then scattered in location (a) or (b) or possibly stuffed near the flusher.

Contender #1 - Oop, none there.

Contender #2 - Once again, big fat zero.

Contender #3 - Oh look, toilet paper, but...Dear God, what *is* that?! Quickly walk over to...

Contender #4 - Pitiful looking, nearly empty, roll of toilet paper, but whoever was last in there did not flush the toilet. Moving on...

Contender #5, the handicap accessible stall - Has toilet paper. Toilet has been flushed. *feels guilty, but rushes inside and locks the door*

Catholic Librarian: *delicately uses facilities*

Student in next stall: *clatters inside* *lots of rustling* *cell phone rings* *quickly answered* "Hello? Um, like, hi!! Yeah, yeah, I'm in the library...*cut off as toilets flush in abundance* yeah, I know, right?! It was totally, totally stupid. Can you believe she puts up with him? I mean..."

Catholic Librarian: *stays frozen in stall, desperately not wanting to flush toilet while student on phone* *realizes that if student doesn't care, why should CL?* *flushes toilet as discreetly as possible* Unlatches door and moves to sinks.

Student in next stall: "uh huh, uh huh, right!" *leaves stall noisily* *exits ladies room without washing hands*

Catholic Librarian: *sighs*

I stick my hands under the nearest, ridiculous, annoying motion sensor faucet. Seriously, how hard is it to turn a knob? No water comes out. Move to the next sink. Water comes out, freezing cold. Twist little switch to warm water. Wait a full 10 seconds. Water warms. Turn to soap dispenser and give it a good press. No soap comes out. I swear. Press again. No soap comes out, so I yank my hand away. Approximately .57 seconds later, soap gushes out and slops to the floor. I swear again. Move to the next sink in disgust. Rinse hands. Turn to the next soap dispenser and...oh, that's right. There IS no next soap dispenser. The only other soap dispenser is several feet away from the sinks, next to the door. I glare at myself in the mirror and move to the far off soap dispenser. Press it. Nothing happens. Move hand away and soap slops to the floor. I punch it again, and this time I'm ready. I hold my hand there and refuse to move, despite the people behind me jostling me in their anxiety to begin their toilet paper hunt, until the soap reluctantly falls onto my palm. Scrub, rinse, move to the paper towel dispenser. Hit release bar. Nothing happens. This is probably because it's empty. I swear. Move to paper towel dispenser #2. Hit release bar. Nothing happens. Discern that it remains jammed, as it has been for a freaking week. Shake water off my hands as I exit ladies room in disgust and nearly collide with another cell phone laden student.

I stomp off, resolved to use the other ladies room next time, the one with the gaps between the stall doors large enough for a small animal to pass through, and anybody to view the entire proceedings should they desire to do so. I don't know that it's possible to write a nastier response on the survey that was done last year by Campus Facilities than I already have, but if so, I'm on it.

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