October 10, 2006

Even Freaks Poop

If the past is any indication, I could write a regularly-updated blog about the bathroom habits of others. I am a freak magnet and that doesn't seem to be something which stops once I've crossed the threshold of the men's room. Yesterday, I was presented with more fuel for this hypothetical blog.

Warning: This post is predicated on two important assumptions, the first of which is the knowledge and understanding that I poop. I realize it's most likely (hopefully) something you haven't devoted an astonishing amount of brain power to. I'll admit it's not a pretty picture but I am mortal and, therefore, I poop. Just as all of you do. The second assumption is that there really isn't such a thing as TMI when you stumble through my site. I've already mentioned pooping in this very paragraph so this should be painfully obvious.

I was sitting in the stall farthest away from the door. This is due to the fact that I am self-conscious and don't enjoy like the camaraderie that accompanies use of the facilities at one's place of business. There's a line that's crossed when coworkers hear you fart. Or something else. And it's impossible to redraw that line once it's been erased. So, I'm sitting in the far stall when another individual enters the stall next to me. This is bad on two different levels. As I mentioned mere sentences ago, I'd rather go to the bathroom in peace. I'd prefer it if no one were there. Worse than pooping with someone in the room, however, is tandem pooping. I value my personal space; I don't like close-talkers or conversational-touchers. I firmly believe that, when one's pants are removed, one's personal space gets a whole lot bigger. Having someone sitting on a toilet two feet away from you separated only by a flimsy metal partition seems a direct violation of this pants-down personal space rule. I wasn't pleased by this invasion but it did give me a chance to observe something truly unique.

When the Mysterious Pooper walked in, he grabbed one of those disposable toilet seat covers from the wall. They make a distinct sound. He then balled it up and threw it away. Then grabbed another, made his way into the stall, balled up the cover and flushed it. Then exited the stall, headed to the dispenser, grabbed another cover, placed it on the seat...then balled it up and flushed it. Then he washed his hands. Twice. After which he grabbed another cover, placed it on the seat...then balled it up and flushed it. He made his way to the paper towel dispenser, ran the water at the sink for a minute then returned to the stall and, quite literally, scrubbed the toilet seat. It wasn't just a cursory rinse. This was a scrub that Mr. Clean in all his shiny bald-headed glory would have been proud of. After several minutes, he threw the paper towels out, got some fresh ones and dried the seat. Then he grabbed yet another toilet seat cover, placed it on the seat and did his business.

Granted, I witnessed glimpses of this reflected in the mirror through the gap between the stall door and its metal frame but I'm 99.9% sure it played out this way. And I know there was nothing wrong with the toilet because I walked by before entering the one I ended up inhabiting and it was fine.

I guess what gets me is how thorough this dude thought he needed to be yet, when all was said an done, his pants were around his ankles bunched up on what I'm sure wasn't the cleanest floor ever. And scrubbing that way is a whole lot more interaction that I would feel comfortable having with a public toilet. Sure, he might be a little phobic about germs but at that point, he might as well have just licked it clean.

Posted by Chris at October 10, 2006 7:15 AM

Good God Almighy. I (sorta) get the cleaning of the seat, but what was with all the covers? Why did they have to die for his neurosis?

Posted by: Contrary at October 10, 2006 7:44 AM

Wow. That's quite an elaborate routine.

You know what's really uncomfortable? Ending up in the bathroom at the same time as a high-ranking customer, when you both know EXACTLY what the other one has to do, so you end up in kind of a lavatory standoff. That's awkward.

Posted by: Nicole at October 10, 2006 7:46 AM

Yep, I think I could devote an entire blog to the goings-on in our bathroom at work. There are some strange cats out there.

Posted by: Buzz at October 10, 2006 8:01 AM

Oh wait...that's what you said. I thought it sounded familiar. Heh!

Posted by: Buzz at October 10, 2006 8:02 AM

Work pooping is the worst. We have one bathroom in our office (my office is actually in an old home so its just a single toilet, sink and a tub!) and its in such a central place that everyone knows when you are in there and how long you are in there and if you use air freshner or not.

That guy sounds way OCD. Did you stick around to witness his post poop routine?

Posted by: Lisa at October 10, 2006 8:03 AM

All of the boys in our office have admitted to pooping on a different floor. We work in a big building. There are 15 floors, one bathroom on each, and apparently, each of them has a favorite floor on which to do their business. Apparently, it's not a problem to poop around a stranger, but it's very uncomfortable to poop around someone you know.

Posted by: Emily at October 10, 2006 8:06 AM

I think that guy has a bit of a problem. What did he think would happen if he had used one of those seat covers without scrubbing?

And I'll bet you know who he is, and will never forget that scene.

Posted by: cassie-b at October 10, 2006 8:08 AM

It's doesn't take a rocket scientist to spell OCD, does it?

Posted by: wordgirl at October 10, 2006 8:17 AM

Wow. That's quite the routine. I wonder if he follows the same every time.

There are only 47 people in my workplace and we've all worked together for years. I would have known who they were instantly just by their shoes. And I would have asked them what in the hell they were doing!

Posted by: Alissa at October 10, 2006 8:26 AM

Forgetting all the poop-talk for just a moment (and it's difficult, trust me), I've just realized that I'm a conversational toucher. We can obviously never meet because you'd hate me within, say, an hour or so. I am totally devastated.

Okay, back to the poopage ....

Posted by: shelley at October 10, 2006 8:32 AM

he could have licked it clean!!! hahahah!!!!!

I work in a large firm firmly situated in the deep south. some of the women that work there are so painfully ladylike it hurts me. example-- one mysterious lady is also one that chooses the stall directly next to the one I am in, which also makes me crazy, and then when any little noise escapes she says "excuse me. oh, excuse me." every single time. it is unnerving.

oh, and if she is doing something that will make a noise as it hits the water (ahem), she will give a courtesy flush. every single time.

it is really warped that I am so familiar with her evacuation habits.

Posted by: cmhl at October 10, 2006 8:33 AM

Wow. Like you said, can't ya just go to the bathroom in peace? Do your business and go on your merry way?? This guy sounds like he has some serious OCD and misophobia (fear of germs, yeah...I googled it!). I can totally get him an appointment here if he needs to speak with a psychiatrist.

Posted by: Michelle at October 10, 2006 8:34 AM

You see? THIS is why I am a strict home pooper.

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at October 10, 2006 8:36 AM

How OCD is that???

I too try to only poop at home, but sometimes you just can't avoid doing your business in public. I have found that certain times of day afford me the most secure shot at no one coming in. Or if that is not an option, I have also scoped out a women's bathroom in a section of the building that mainly men work in, so the chances of someone walking in are very slim. It makes me feel a bit like George Costanza but you do what you have to do.

Posted by: donna at October 10, 2006 8:54 AM

I will be giggling all day over tandem pooping!!!!

Posted by: linda at October 10, 2006 8:55 AM

I think what concerns me the most is that you say this went on for "several minutes". Perhaps you should add more fiber to your diet. ;)

Posted by: daisy at October 10, 2006 8:57 AM

I spent a year interning as a programmer at a Perdue Farms, and then another year as a full time employee. As far as I could tell, there was no executive restroom. My desk was around the corner from the executive area, though, and on the way to the closest restroom for any executive, or anyone in accounting or HR.

If you think it's hard to take a crap next to a coworker and friend, try dropping a deuce next to Jim Perdue, or the director of purchasing.

And another thing - why do these execs never wear pants and shoes that make them blend in with the rest of us?

(Also, score one for the only-pull-your-pants-down-to-just-above-your-knees club)

Posted by: Adam at October 10, 2006 9:06 AM

What I want to know is how you managed to not laugh out loud at this situation, because that is truly bizarre, and I would have lost my shit (so to speak) if I had witnessed that.

Posted by: Jessie at October 10, 2006 9:07 AM

Tandem Pooping. The next item up for discussion in the category "Events that will never be considered for Olympic competition".

Posted by: Pammer at October 10, 2006 9:13 AM

There are some people in the (women's) restroom that I WISH would clean up AFTER themselves that well. How a WOMAN can pee ON THE SEAT is beyond me.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at October 10, 2006 9:58 AM

And I thought the woman singing in the stall next to me while we all peed was weird....

Posted by: Traci at October 10, 2006 10:00 AM

thank god i'm not the least bit obsessive compulsive, because if I had to go through that routine each and every time i went to sit on the toilet, well, lets just say, I'd be doing lots and lots of laundry. I'm lucky if I have time to give a cursory wipe with TP before the kidneys let loose. (See, I'm embracing the spirit of the TMI and sharing some of my own!)

Posted by: suze at October 10, 2006 10:05 AM

He must think to himself....I think I feel one coming in an hour or so, better leave now just in case. That's bizarre.

I can't criticize too much, though, because I've got some OCD bathroom habits myself. They involve hand washing routines but are not nearly as, well, crazy (at least I'd like to think so).

Posted by: kim at October 10, 2006 10:09 AM

That's quite a routine. I'm no fan of public bathrooms, but that's a lot of effort for not much payoff.

Yesterday a woman who seems very nice but who I don't know very well insisted on carrying on a conversation with me while we were in the bathroom. Very uncomfortable! I mean, I couldn't refuse to answer her, could I?

Posted by: bad penguin at October 10, 2006 10:18 AM

wow, that dude certainly has issues when it comes to public bathrooms. I mean, who really likes using them anyway? And you would think that if he was so uptight about germs he would have thought about his pants rubbing against the nasty floor that he didnt clean.

And i totally agree with you about your personal space expanding greatly in that situation. I like mine to encompass the entire bathroom. ;)

Posted by: kristied at October 10, 2006 10:42 AM

This is why bathroom ettiquite needs to be emphasized time and time again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzO1mCAVyMw (maybe this doesn't even go with the post, but man, is this one of the funniest things I've ever seen and so true. AND it's done with the sims, which in and of itself is great anyway).

Posted by: statia at October 10, 2006 10:44 AM

now, what i would have loved to see, is how he would clean his computer keyboard if he read this:


Posted by: Harald Haugan at October 10, 2006 10:45 AM


Posted by: Betty at October 10, 2006 11:02 AM

Can you say OCD???? My God.

Posted by: Michelle at October 10, 2006 11:29 AM

oy. And Ew. That's just weird. There was a lady at a former workplace of mine that was a hand-scrubber. She would wash her hands, seriously, for 5-ish minutes both before and after any bathroom procedure. The bad part was that even though she was concerned about her own cleanliness - she left the counters a mess all the time.

Posted by: Sue at October 10, 2006 12:02 PM

Sometimes when I'm in the bathroom, washing my hands or whatever, I feel the need to reassure the other person that it's fine, go ahead and do your thing. I don't mind because we all do it. Then I think about that whole crossing the line business, keep my mouth shut, and hurry up so I can leave the person in peace.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at October 10, 2006 12:12 PM

I'm so glad I don't have to use a work restroom anymore! And I agree, if he's that concerned about germs, why the pants on the floor?

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at October 10, 2006 12:43 PM

HA! HAHAHAHAHA! How did you keep from laughing?

I will never understand why someone will need to scrub the toilet, yet is ok with entering a stall next to a stall that's occupied. Don't people know about the buffer stall?

Posted by: Noelle at October 10, 2006 12:50 PM

Noelle and I share the same sentiment--why do people feel the need to plop, no pun intended, down in the stall next to you!--the horror

Posted by: Nanette at October 10, 2006 1:11 PM

I think all public restrooms should have stalls with an entire wall - floor to ceiling - in between them. And none of those gaps by the door - haven't we advanced enough as a society that we can provide some privacy for people when they're going to the bathroom? Oh and each stall should have one of those fans, both to provide fresh air AND a noise buffer. For crying out loud, we can send people to the moon, we should be able to poop in peace - even at the office!

Oh and what's with the people who come into the bathroom, have several stalls to choose from, but decide on the one right next to you? I hate that. Isn't it just common knowledge that - unless the bathroom is packed with people - there's only one reason people choose the last stall? Sheesh!

Posted by: erin at October 10, 2006 1:19 PM

Perhaps his boys are more precious than the avergae bear's boys....freakazoid!!!!

Posted by: Wicked H at October 10, 2006 1:55 PM

I'm pretty sure you did your business this morning next to MONK. ;)

I can't stop laughing at this. I should but I can't.

Posted by: Melissa at October 10, 2006 2:11 PM

obsessive compulsive sounds like to me. sighs. i don't understand the toilet cover seats at work. I usually only use them when i am at a stadium or some other huge event.

and why the hell don't they have them in port o potties, the stinky shack that totally could use them?

Posted by: melanie at October 10, 2006 2:53 PM

at least, when you are a girl, you don't know for a fact that someone in the next stall is pooping. there is a bit more mystery to it.

pet peeve: when someone takes a stall directly next to you, when they don't have to. if possible, i try to leave an empty stall between myself and anyone else in the bathroom. if at all possible.

Posted by: jodi at October 10, 2006 3:45 PM

I think someone needs to tell him that there is medication out there that could help him. LOL

Tandem pooping - that was classic!!!

Posted by: GigglePixie (Evil Genius) at October 10, 2006 4:07 PM

First, thank you (and Beth, just before you) for perking me right out of this hellova bad mood I'm in.

Second, you poop? Who knew? Cool!

Third, that is hilariously insane. All of it -- what happened and your perspective and how you wrote about it. L. O. f-ing. L! ;)

Fantastic post!

Posted by: haley-o at October 10, 2006 4:38 PM

Wow. You said poop a lot at the beginning of this post.

I hate pooping at work.

Or, I used to hate pooping at work, now I work from home, so...

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at October 10, 2006 5:03 PM

Good lord I can't stop laughing!! Awesome story, awesome.

Posted by: erica at October 10, 2006 5:20 PM

Your such a liar! You don't poop! Your a writing god! All your shit comes spewing out on your blog! LMAO!!
You sooooo know I'm just kidding! I love your blog!
Have you heard of the Courtsey Flush? It drives me insane when I go into the ladies bathroom and there is someone in there doing the poop thing and just lets it stay in the bowl, girl please, take you nasty ass else where or courtsey flush as you go! Flush as you go! TMI? Oh well u get the picture!

Posted by: CJ at October 10, 2006 5:22 PM

In Japan they have a little button that makes the flushing noise when you push it if you want to cover up any 'random' noises without getting a wet bum. I think thats a great idea or at least hook the bathroom up with a good sound system and play music.

Posted by: Lyn at October 10, 2006 6:00 PM

in response to your comments about personal space and your pants down... it has always amazed me, as a women, that men are comfortable whipping it out for all to see at the urinal!! Standing next to a row of guys checking you out is far more of a violation of personal space than a wall and at least pretend privacy!
and on to the subject of toilet covers... I am always embarassed by the sound your poop makes when it hits the paper that was in the middle, therefore, I try not to use them... prefering the careful wipedown instead.

Posted by: Lisa at October 10, 2006 6:15 PM

best. title. ever.

Posted by: Geezitron at October 10, 2006 7:43 PM

That YouTube clip from statia was hilarious! Personally, I try to avoid Number 2 at work unless absolutely necessary. And then, I must be alone in the restroom before I can do my business. I can be very patient if I need to be.

Posted by: Beth in StL at October 10, 2006 7:52 PM

First off, love this hilarious, enjoyable post.

Second, the guy was probably trying to give you time to complete your mission, so he could have a little 'quiet time' and personal space to launch his production, hence all the time consuming, ridiculous show of noise making. You just failed to work with him. (sorry -- just trying to get inside his head there for a minute. tight squeeze)

Third, and most important -- what's wrong with conversational touchers? :: hangs head in shame ::

Posted by: coolchick at October 10, 2006 8:39 PM

Okay this post...

It made me laff very hard...

Because unlike you.... I will not poop at work...

No... I am like that guy in American Pie... I will hop in Wilson and head home so quick if I have to poop...

But the dude grabbing like... four seat covers... that's RICH.

Posted by: Snidget at October 10, 2006 8:44 PM

A Freak Magnet, you are! What a ridiculous story. And, I'm with whoever made the comment about guys "whipping it out" at the urinal--that seems a little "uncomfortable" to me... I hate when you're in a single bathroom and have Serious Business to take care of--then by the time to get out there's another person (or whole line) waiting. They KNOW the smell was YOU!

Posted by: Celina at October 10, 2006 11:49 PM

Wow! Thats just crazy. So you have just witnessed an OCD inflicted person; though its selective (what with the pants wiping the dirty ass floor and all)

Posted by: Dee at October 11, 2006 12:17 AM

Y'all crack me up. Now I can't help thinking about that children's book Everybody Poops, only in my head I'm singing it to the tune of those songs from Sesame Street, "Everybody Eats" and "Everybody Sleeps."

And that is so, so awesome. You just don't even know.

Posted by: Fraulein N at October 11, 2006 8:58 AM

Yeah, that's amongst the weirdest I've heard. The funniest part is, test after test reveals that public toilets aren't even close to the germs you can get from keyboards, desks, and people's hands. I mean, sure, I put down the toilet paper defense shield, but I don't freak out about it.

Posted by: Brad at October 11, 2006 11:37 AM

That is just nasty. Way too much interaction with a public toilet.

Posted by: Zandria at October 12, 2006 9:55 AM

jesus, wonder if that guy carries around a bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles while he's at it.

Posted by: Dawn (webmiztris) at October 12, 2006 2:12 PM

You had me at - tandem pooping. I'll bet you were done, but sat there just to see what Mr. OCD would do next.

I always hate it when you're talking to someone as you walk into the restroom, and as the door closes and you both sit, they try to continue the conversation, as if they don't hear the stream. I think that might be a girl thing though.

Posted by: Nila at October 13, 2006 4:44 AM