Friday, May 7, 2010

I can understand why somebody would turn off half the lights in the bathroom and sit in the darkened stall the day after Cinco de Mayo, but this has been going on for a very long time.

I appreciate a clean and comfortable bathroom at work. I like having the option of going to a place where I don't have to do any work and I can sit around without pants on irregardless of my intestinal directives.

In my previous job there was a point where I considered the bathroom to be the only safe haven from the all women, post-menopausal work environment. This was taken away when one of my bosses started using the men's restroom for her foul death shits. I never found out which one was destroying the last thing I enjoyed at work but I suspected all three of my bosses thought they were very clever in hiding their digestive problems from other ladies in the office. Either that or a single culprit had a very interesting diet as the tone of the air quality shifted from horror to horror throughout the day.

My current workplace commode is quite nice. In fact, when I was a student here I would relieve myself in this same bathroom, if given the choice, as it is generally cleaner and better air conditioned than many others on campus. As this restroom has become the sole fecal repository I frequent, I have observed the habits of some of my coworkers and what started out as an odd mystery probably should have remained a mystery but I figured it all out nonetheless.

About half the time I enter this bathroom, the light is off. This does not cast the entire bathroom into darkness but leaves no light in the entrance and leaves the handicapped stall quite unlit. I usually accepted this as a power saving effort by somebody on staff until one day as I was sitting on the toilet the lights were extinguished by an incoming waste management patron. With the lights off, the unknown man slipped into the far and newly darkened stall and I left the bathroom (after I washed my hands of course). This started happening on a regular basis. Sometimes I would be in one of the stalls when the lights went out and other times I would walk into the bathroom and the lights would already be out and somebody would already be in the stall. This became an odd mystery because I could never quite catch sight of whoever was doing this but I started referring to him as the Midnight Pooper. I would write 80's hair metal ballads about the Midnight Pooper, fraught with shredding guitar solos and would always turn the light back on when I left because that's kind of weird.

After a couple of months I realized that many times when the Midnight Pooper is doing his business, you can hear the clicking of cell phone buttons. Texting? Surfing the Internet? Who can really tell? I know I'm not going to ask them because there are too many awkward possibilities and I would rather continue my crusade for well-lit toilets with my current motivation.

This isn't the end of the mystery, however. One day as I washed my hands I was plunged into semi-darkness as the head of the counseling services walks in and enters the darkest stall. This was when I realized there are multiple Midnight Poopers and began to wonder what the reasoning was behind obscured defecation that was not due to an attachment to technology. My current theory is that the counselor has phobia about seeing his own feces. Maybe his dad was a plumber and died in a horrible septic tank accident and was raised by his puritanical mom who refused to be in the same room to potty train him and would shout through the door "You better clean up all your filth you dirty little sinner." And at some point he asked her what poop was and she shouted at him "It's your dirty sin you beast." and then she locked him in the pantry for three days and beat him severely for soiling his trousers.

It's a theory. No matter the reason, I hope I freak every Midnight Pooper out each time I turn the light on and disrupt whatever it was he was doing.

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