June 4, 2008

When Angry Blind Men Pee

Since starting this site and becoming something of a freak magnet, I've found myself in a unique and somewhat unenviable position to report on bathroom etiquette most of which I have learned - for good or ill - through first hand experience. Allow me to recap what I've learned over the years.


  • Pee
  • Poop
  • Wash your hands

Do Not:

  • Eat or drink. Consuming foodstuffs of any variety is just plain wrong. Even if you've been starving in the Sahara and stumble into a bathroom only to find a buffet, there's no excuse.
  • Multitask. We already addressed eating but worse than eating is eating and talking on the phone while doing your thing. Or brushing your teeth while taking a leak. Do one thing and do it well.
  • Allow your pants to fall down around your ankles.
  • Talk on your phone. No one wants to hear your side of any phone call while you're in the bathroom. And I'm pretty sure there's no one who actually wants to be spoken to from the bathroom.
  • Engage in spontaneous conversation.
  • Laugh hysterically at your own farts.
  • Wear clown costumes. That level of freaky is just uncalled for.
  • Break into classic Aretha Franklin songs.
  • Be a crossdresser.

Despite all this knowledge and somewhat regrettable personal experience, nothing really prepared me for the conundrum I faced today. When you find a blind man in a restroom peeing into a trashcan, do you say something? I realize this sounds purely hypothetically - like what's the sound of one hand clapping or does the Pope shit in the woods - but I assure you it is not.

Now, the guy was blind and the trashcan was one of those wall-mounted things with a paper towel dispenser above it so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt about how he happened to get into the situation. But what do you - an innocent yet deeply unlucky individual - do about it? Do you say, hey blind guy, you're peeing into a trashcan or take his arm and lead him to a urinal or do you do absolutely nothing and let him wonder how his shoes became so wet? I said something, something along the lines of excuse me but I believe you must be in the wrong location for that. Okay, so, sure it was a pretty awkward sentence but how do you phrase something like that? His response? Mind your own fucking business, perv. So despite every passive aggressive instinct I had which involved shouting something about his nether regions and peeing on his shoes, I did as he asked. And I left.

Now, what would you do? What's the polite way to go in that situation?

Posted by Chris at June 4, 2008 6:32 AM

You did the right thing! Not your fault that he took your attempt at assistance in entirely the wrong way. I can't imagine what he was thinking to respond in that particular fashion but, look at it this way; he wound up reaping what he sowed with his rudeness.

Posted by: Miss Yu at June 4, 2008 6:58 AM

OMG.... too damn funny!!!

You did the right thing -- brought it to his attention, and then did as he wished, as he obviously didn't give a rat's ass.

I would have then located the next closest restroom and used that one for the rest of the day... because we all know that other one was going to be stinky for the remainder of the day.

Posted by: ironic1 at June 4, 2008 7:09 AM

I believe I'd just have to stand back and watch what happens when he tries to flush.

Posted by: Gilahi at June 4, 2008 7:12 AM

I would have tiptoed out of the room...

Posted by: NancyB at June 4, 2008 7:21 AM

I think you did the right thing... but you certainly didn't get the thanks you deserved.

I hope the blind guy smelled like pee allllll day long.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 4, 2008 7:44 AM

I am sure he knew what he was doing. I was alway told that if I kept playing with that thing I would go blind...

Posted by: William at June 4, 2008 8:17 AM

I think the real question to ask is how did you get this bathroom karma in the first place?

Posted by: daisy at June 4, 2008 8:20 AM

To be honest, I'm a terrible person who, in those awakward situations, usually walks away. I feel bad afterwards because I could have helped someone. But in your case, maybe it would have been best? You never know.

Posted by: claire at June 4, 2008 8:24 AM

His response was straight up RUDE. He's pissing in the trash can and somehow you're the perv? How does that work?

Posted by: sarah at June 4, 2008 8:25 AM

His response was straight up RUDE. He's pissing in the trash can and somehow you're the perv? How does that work?

Posted by: sarah at June 4, 2008 8:25 AM

OMG! I would have waited to see how he was gonna flush. You did well. Eating and pooping...mmmm

Posted by: Amber at June 4, 2008 8:43 AM

Okay, wow. His response was completely uncalled for. Maybe he knew exactly what he was doing?

Posted by: Fraulein N at June 4, 2008 8:46 AM

I have no idea what I would do. If I walked into a bathroom and saw a blind man peeing in a trash can...well...he'd not only be peeing into the wrong receptacle, but also in the wrong bathroom!

Also, thank you for telling everyone that talking on the phone while in the bathroom is just wrong. I will admit I have peed while on the phone with my sister because we have marathon phone sessions and I have to pee A LOT. But I warn her. She does it too. She is the ONLY one I would ever do that with. A guy I used to work with though would disappear into the bathroom (lucky me, it was located right next to my desk and I could hear EVERYTHING! Shudder!) and he would be talking to our builders/vendors/clients while POOPING. He honestly saw nothing wrong with it. It made me want to hurl!

Posted by: js at June 4, 2008 9:10 AM

I definitely agree with you about the no multitasking thing--several of us in our office have received voicemails from our CEO and can hear toilets flushing in the background. I mean, I know he's a busy guy and all, but that's crossing the line...

Posted by: Liz at June 4, 2008 9:14 AM

Wow, the stuff you see in Monkeytown that involves restrooms and strange folk.

You did the right thing, I think. The day I see a woman pee in a garbage can, I'm not sure how I'll handle it.

Posted by: crookedeyebrow at June 4, 2008 9:31 AM

The only appropriate thing to do is take a video with your cellphone and post it to utterz.

Posted by: whall at June 4, 2008 9:36 AM

You did the right thing. But I probably wouldn't hold the response too much against the guy. As a big girl who gets unsolicited diet advice every freakin' day, I can imagine he probably gets told all damn day where to walk, sit, point that thing . . . Although I'll follow that up with being "different" in some way is not a license to be rude whenever you want. I'd say everybody in the room gets cut some slack. Except that guy with the sandwich and the phone. Criminy!

Posted by: OS at June 4, 2008 9:43 AM

I do think you should have been more specific about "location" - Dude, you're pissin in the trashcan. The urinal is OVER THERE.

But really, there's no way of knowing how he'll react - chances are you'd get called a perv regardless.

Posted by: Emily at June 4, 2008 9:44 AM

you forgot my #1 don't (after the clown suit, of course):

DON'T use names. I feel very strongly that anonymity is important in a restroom facility.

You know, say you made some sounds that you aren't exactly proud of while in the stall. And there is someone in the stall next to you. You come out, and while washing your hands, someone you know walks in. Saying hello is fine, but if this new, 3rd person says, "Oh, hi Kalisa!" now the person in the stall next to me KNOWS IT WAS ME MAKING THOSE UNFORTUNATE NOISES.

See? Anonymity.

Posted by: kaisa at June 4, 2008 9:48 AM

I am continually amazed by the number of freaks you encounter in the bathroom.

You did the right thing. I mean, you don't want to make him feel bad, but you kind of had to point out that he was peeing the trash can.

Posted by: bad penguin at June 4, 2008 9:56 AM


You truly are a magnet for the bizarre.

Also, mens' rooms are a lot more freaky than ladies' rooms. Perhaps it's the standing while peeing thing? Cultural difference?

I would have told the blind guy straight up that he was peeing in the wrong place. But, based on your limited description, I doubt he would have cared.

Posted by: jessica at June 4, 2008 10:03 AM

Nope - you did the right thing. He was being an asshat to someone who was trying to help.

Phones in bathrooms - no, just no. Short of someone being sick, dying or in labor, there's precious little that could be that urgent. I've spoken up about it - said that I value my privacy.

Posted by: Sue R at June 4, 2008 10:16 AM

I would move my freaking desk in that bathroom, as it provides more hilarity and entertainment than many, many things.

Then I might pen a novela of random bathroom encounters, the likes of which will leave you in stiches.

Then I would move to the beach with my loads and piles of cash made from the everyday man just doing his biz on the wall mounted trash can.

Yep. That is totally what I would do.

Posted by: Kelly M. at June 4, 2008 10:34 AM

I think your work bathroom is the set of an elaborate reality TV program that you don't know you're participating in (à la The Truman Show). A possible title: What Will Chris See Next In The Can?

Posted by: alison at June 4, 2008 10:37 AM

oh good golly... I think you need to invest in your very own portapotty - you've had ENOUGH potty trauma for all of us.

Posted by: Holly at June 4, 2008 10:39 AM

For some reason all I could think of when I read this post was the show Candid Camera. Are you sure they aren't bringing it back??

Posted by: Dana at June 4, 2008 11:34 AM

What bathroom is this?! I swear, your work restroom is like a black hole of oddity.

Posted by: GreenCanary at June 4, 2008 11:54 AM

Dude, how is it you keep getting into these weird bathroom situations? Have you thought of petitioning for a private bathroom?

That being said, WTF? Why would someone respond that way to someone who is being helpful? Sure, he was probably embarassed or he fully intended to pee in the trash can, but seriously!

Did you go back to your desk and call maintenance and tell them someone had peed in the trashcan? I totally would have done that.

Posted by: zanie at June 4, 2008 12:02 PM

I woulda pee'd on his shoes!

Posted by: Jeff A at June 4, 2008 1:54 PM

I think you handled the situation quite well. I also think you need to learn how to hold it until you get home. There's a lot of weirdos in your building.

Posted by: Chag at June 4, 2008 2:02 PM

Hey, what's wrong with eating/drinking/talking on the phone in the bathroom...assuming it's your home? LMAO...

I used to sneak out of meetings and talk on the phone in the bathroom with hubby (before he was hubby). My boss even asked me if I was looking for a new job I did it so often.

You sure have a bizarre bathroom, nothing like that happens here.

Posted by: been there, done that at June 4, 2008 2:20 PM

And you wonder why kids don't want to use the potty and prefer diapers? Totally obvious. They don't want to go into your bathroom.

Posted by: k8 at June 4, 2008 2:20 PM

Wow. There's no good way out of that. I think that you went about it the right way. You tried to bring up the point in a non-offensive way, and he just wasn't having it. Your job there is done. Also: wow. Trashcan? Really? I'm suddenly very glad to not be a blind male.

Posted by: Dawn at June 4, 2008 2:26 PM

OMG, how rude (him, not you). Do you think he was intentionally peeing there? Did he try to flush?

I give you credit for saying something; I think I would have quietly backed out of the room.

Posted by: Kimberly at June 4, 2008 2:36 PM

I will admit to brushing my teeth while peeing, but only at home! It would be very, very odd in a public washroom. And on the phone, during 4 hour convos, I've peed too, but only while talking to my very best friend. But then girls have different rules about the bathroom anyway haha.
Anyway...I think you should write a book about your crazy bathroom stories, because they're totally hilarious and really, really weird.

Posted by: Heather at June 4, 2008 4:49 PM

This is too funny!

Dude, I second the post above suggesting you get a port-a-potty for your office. I was actually thinking potty chair instead of office chair or Depends or something. WTF is with that bathroom?

And I would NOT be the one to tell the janitor. They'd totally think YOU peed in the trashcan. *shudders*

Posted by: Anna at June 4, 2008 7:14 PM

This is too funny!

Dude, I second the post above suggesting you get a port-a-potty for your office. I was actually thinking potty chair instead of office chair or Depends or something. WTF is with that bathroom?

And I would NOT be the one to tell the janitor. They'd totally think YOU peed in the trashcan. *shudders*

Posted by: Anna at June 4, 2008 7:15 PM

I'm starting to think you could form an entire book out of JUST your experiences in bathrooms. I mean, really. REALLY. How does this shit happen to you?

Posted by: Elaine at June 4, 2008 7:30 PM

Just today my local radio station had a big show about spitting and how its common for some guys to spit into the urinal before they pee. They wondered if it was habit or happenstance. I notice you did not include spitting on either list. Where do you stand? (or sit) Sorry, couldnt resist.

Posted by: That Girl at June 4, 2008 8:50 PM

Okay, I have to agree with the first 3 on your "Do Not" list, but dude, for a guy, you are way too uptight about the restroom!!! lol What guy doesn't laugh at his own farts? Okay, the cross dresser thing is kinda freaky, but I'd love nothing more than for someone to break out into Aretha Franklin's Respect, any time... any place! :)

Posted by: TxSuzy at June 4, 2008 9:14 PM

ignore; he's a grown man. you tried to do right, yes. but he's been through this many times. my grampa was blind and handled things as best he could (absolutely NO pun intended).

(hope my comment actually gets approved this time!)

Posted by: RzDrms at June 4, 2008 11:51 PM

I totally would've just let him piss in the trashcan. I have a fear of being cussed out by strangers, particularly differently abled strangers. Once upon a time,I offered to get a greeting card off of a top shelf (of those little greeting card shelves they have in stores) for a little person, and she gave me the tongue lashing of a life time. In my defense, she was climbing the shelves, which seemed rather dangerous considering that they are fashioned from paper-thin plastic.

Posted by: Shamelessly Sassy at June 5, 2008 2:45 AM

I would have done the same thing as you.

No on the taking of the arm and leading him to the urinal. He has his wang in his hand. I would tell him he needs to move 5 feet to his left, etc.

Posted by: Maria at June 5, 2008 5:17 AM

How does this stuff always seem to happen to you? You are like a restroom weirdo magnet!

Posted by: angela at June 8, 2008 6:51 PM

"Hey buddy, you're peeing in the trash can."


Blind people aren't stupid. Stupid people are stupid. If I closed your eyes and pushed you into a bathroom, you wouldn't pee in the trash can.

Posted by: Brad at June 10, 2008 10:58 AM