That was how my Monday started. I was late getting to work and had the north entry to myself. It was bitterly cold and still semi-dark. There by the sidewalk, huge and frozen, sat a proudly upright pile of dog turd. A step or two closer to the building lay a tampon — unused but unwrapped, swollen with frozen moisture, tail coyly curled. Does anyone need this at 7:30 AM?
I ran an errand at lunch and returned to the building through the same door. Both items were still arranged there, somewhat less charming for having thawed — a still life without sparkle.
There’s a staff bathroom right outside our department. We have one inside, too, but that’s often busy; it was taken over by the women long ago and features air freshener and perfumed lotions and silk flowers and inspirational posters. Really, though — does one really need inspiration while seated on the toilet? No down time allowed, even there?
The outside staff bathroom is a unisex one, clearly claimed by the men. No air freshener, no flowers, and no perky “Keep It Up!” messages. They do, occasionally, have soap near the sink.
I went to that bathroom at the end of the day, since someone was making a major wardrobe change in ours (we have bicyclists and yoga enthusiasts and gym rats who change there for post-work activities and spend longer in so doing than my son’s girlfriend spends in our bathtub, which is always hours). I walked in to find the urinal full. Is flushing not a manly act? Too swishy? Is leaving pee pooled there a way to mark one’s turf, the equivalent of spraying shrubs while out for a walk? Do men do that, too, when no-one is looking?
I was desperate, and hey — urine is nothing to seize up and pee on the carpet over. I am the seasoned mother of boys.
I chose NOT to flush that urinal, however. Not my job. When I exited the room, a man I don’t know was waiting to enter. Sigh. I imagine him imagining me, perched over the urinal and then leaving puddles.