I was an avid watcher of “Ally McBeal” – I LOVED the show when it first aired, and have since watched the whole thing through twice. GREAT show. I was endlessly amused by the goings on in the co-ed bathroom in the office – while I knew rationally that such a situation would never work in the real world (especially now – crikey, could you imagine??!??!), it sure made for entertaining television. I recently left my 20+ year career in public education to work for a non-profit organization – it was a scary change, but one that I really needed…and it’s worked out GREAT! I love my new job, I feel fulfilled in a way that I haven’t in many years – I’m super-happy. But….(there’s always a but) the bathroom situation in my office leaves much to be desired. Let me explain.
This place is FULL of women – yet there’s only one bathroom available. In the bathroom are three regular stalls, and one accessible stall. Each stall has a completely different toilet, with a completely different flushing mechanism – and, on any given day, at least one flusher will not be working. It’s the strangest thing – we never have four functioning potties at one time. EVER. The other unique thing is that the stalls are REALLY close to each other – if I shift from one butt cheek to the other in one stall, you will hear me in the next….and the sounds, oh lord, they echo. Since I’ve started working here, I’ve heard things that I can barely find the words to tell you about. I don’t know what these ladies are eating when they aren’t at work, but it’s got to be roadkill and sour dairy…and the cacophony of arse sounds, reminiscent of elephants in the wild… it’s truly been something. Today, I popped in for a quick sweet pee when the woman beside me begun sighing, grunting slightly, and pooping for the homeland – things were really going down in there. She lifted her feet off the ground (trying to protect her identity, I assume – her shoes must’ve been unique), which was working great – until her ID fell off and landed face up on the floor. There she was – her name, her face, her everything. I quickly averted my eyes, trying to help her hold on to what wee part of her dignity remained, but let me tell you….I will likely never look at Jane Doe from Accounting the same again!
Note to corporations everywhere: think carefully about the bathroom situations you provide for your employees, and do what you can to preserve their dignity. It matters – and it’s a lot easier to make them comfortable at work…that way they won’t have to go to the nearest La Madeleine to use the facilities! (not that I do that, of course not, for leaving the office during work hours to go to the bathroom would likely be frowned upon not to mention borderline strange……)