Friday, April 27, 2007

Paperback Wiper (the jig was up)

The new office, despite having more space and access to natural light does have its down sides. Obviously my recently acquired fear of the militant cleaners is one but I have also been embroiled in a long drawn out battle of wits with the security staff who work here and their jobs-worthy-pedantic ness. When I regaled these recent events to Lisa she was quite astute in commenting that I'm not happy unless I'm involved in a on going dispute with someone and of course she is dead right.
I'm going to resist detailing the incidents and my hollow victories for the time being, as at present there is more pressing concerns- namely the office toilets.

Having come from a small pokey office with just one toilet, we now have to share a toilet with the other departments on our floor. It's your standard shared toilet set up with the option of using either one of the five urinals or one of the five cubicles. We also have the option of using hand towels or the hand dryer, although the latter only worked on the first week and has sadly been defunct since. Like I said, this is fairly standard for an office of this size, but without wishing to be too graphic, they smell bad...real bad. Worse than they ought to- you know; service station bad.

To be totally honest it has rocked my ethos that I could "go anywhere" on which I have been more than keen to share with people when toilet etiquette is brought into conversation, which actually happens more often than you'd think. For starters I'm fully versed on the daily toilet schedules of all my close friends and actually learned at the weekend that two friends, who happen to be twin sisters, both hover when they use the toilets at work!
Anyway getting back to the matter in hand, the toilets on our floor aren't good and have been duly noted by all- so much so it was brought up during a team meeting last week. I made a wise crack about peeing in the room with padded walls (the elevators) which got belly laughs all round.

Since moving into this office six weeks ago I have been using the disabled toilet located near the elevators as my own private stall. It's very much like our old office toilets, spacious and it has the handy emergency chord. At first I was unsure as to whether I should use this toilet or not, but once I'd seen our strategic director use it I figured that if it was good enough for our scary head honcho it would be okay for me too. I do feel ever so slightly guilty about it though and certainly haven't told my colleagues, this would no doubt end up as disgustingly smelly and pube laden as the 'shared' facilities. It was my own personal place of solitude…well, the directors and mine.

As these toilets are near to the elevator and the entrance to the corridor there are often people milling about near to my sanctuary, so I have often waited around pretending to use my phone until I'm sure the coast is clear. I also listen ever so intently to ensure no one sees me leave or to make sure no one can hear the 'splash down' as using my patented courtesy flush is obviously out of the question. This has proved to be a unpleasant task at times as I clench with all my might whilst I can hear clearly fellow employees chatting at length through the thin walls, begging for them to shove off. The blessed sound of the corridor door closing followed by a couple of seconds of silence it the most blissful sound in the world followed very shortly by the most blissful feelings in the world. Thankfully because of similar experiences at some of my previous jobs, my bowels and anus are a particularly resolute team. Thus far there has been no problems.

Today, alas I feared the jig was up. At my usual 11 o’clock bowel movement I trundled down the corridor towards the toilet. Perhaps I am getting complacent; I had made the schoolboy error and left my glasses at my desk so my vision wasn't 100%. In hindsight I can see I was ill prepared for the mission. I walked out of the door and on to the landing. The coast appeared to be clear. I grabbed the handle to the toilets and was half way in when from nowhere a woman came bounding down the stairs.

I panicked and let go of the door dramatically, stepped back and looked down the stairs as if I was trying to find someone. I then proceeded to walk down them slowly looking confused and avoiding eye contact with this woman. I could vaguely see the woman stop and look at me from the corner of my eye. I was acting very suspiciously if I do say so myself. It was clear I was doing something I shouldn’t. Sadly, I didn't get to see her face as without my glasses I am blind, all I know was that her face looked kind of blurry and she was wearing red.

Thoroughly busted, I held my breath and ventured into the communal toilets.

I stepped in and almost stepped back out again. The smell of bleach and warm urine made me shudder like Homer Simpson and it stung my eyes. I chose the cubicle furthest away from the entrance because it didn’t have any ‘left overs’ floating in the water and someone had courteously left a newspaper. The Lord takes with one hand but gives with the other-or something like that. After wiping the seat with some loo roll, (because we all know cheap toilet paper kills all germs) I sat down, relaxed and picked up the paper. Suddenly I heard the main door swing open and someone rush into the stall next to mine, lock the door and pull their trousers down in a hurry and let rip.

'keeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfffttt-rrrrspallllllllllt-thhhhblurrpt- t-t-t-t-t-t- thurrrrpppppppfeeeeechet-t-t-t!!!!!!!!'

It was the worst sound I have ever heard in my goddamned life.

I shook my head in disgust, pulled up my pants and with the newspaper under my arms retreated to disabled toilet.

This time the coast was clear.

I sat down and read the newspaper (the Metro) and lamented the fact that I hadn't stuck with the courage of my convictions and just used the disabled toilet in the first place.

I also remembered my pre thought out alibi that I concocted when I first started to use it; in case of being caught just pretend that I'm getting some paper towels as there wasn't any in the communal toilets. I cursed myself for not recalling this earlier. This would have been the perfect excuse as there has been a lot of grumblings in the building about the lack of paper and hand drying options. I have my own theories on this; that somehow the security staff and the cleaners are in cahoots and no one has the balls to confront Geronimo and Co and ask for them to provide more hand towels. I think they may be selling the spare towels on the black market or something.

Anyhow, I proceeded to 'do' my business and finished off reading the paper. “All’s well that ends well” I thunked.

Then as if it was some poor low rate teen American gross out comedy, I reached over to my right and noticed there were no effing toilet roll!!!! Eeeek!!! I immediately looked for the hand towels- which whilst not being a perfect replacement are the next best thing….AGGGGG!!!! Nothing!!

My first impression was that the blurry woman in red had deliberately removed these items so that I couldn't use the facilities in an act of pettiness so deplorable it was on a par with some of my recent escapades. Then it occurred to me that perhaps, someone had noticed that there was no paper towels or loo roll in the gent's toilet and taken...sorry stolen them from MY toilet! Whatever the reasons, I was without the appropriate paraphernalia needed.
I had taken my eye off the ball for a second and I was, pardon the pun: in the shit.
For a moment I contemplated pulling the emergency cord.

Because of the sloppiness of my excrement, pulling up my trousers and walking down the stairs to the gents to wipe was out of the equation, so I did the only thing I felt appropriate in the situation and used the newspaper. I felt guilty wiping my backside on the picture of the malnutritioned African on the cover, so turned to the back pages....Jose Mourinio....Perfect!!!!

This may surprise you but this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve substituted toilet paper with newspaper but it had been a while so I had forgotten about newspaper’s flushing capabilities and it did require several time consuming re-flushes. Of late, I have become especially wary of the length of time it take a toilet cistern to refill- this was discovered whilst in the midst of my courtesy flush insistence- so I was very careful as not to flush prematurely. Whilst I waited for the cistern to refill it occurred to me that had it not been for the mysterious woman in red, I would have been without even a newspaper and would have been up shit creek without a paper (groan). I felt somewhat relieved and chuckled to myself quietly.

Once I’d finished the cycle of flushes, I hid the what was left of the newspaper, washed my hands drying them on my trousers and opened the door at least a stone lighter than I was before I’d started this mission.

As I stepped out of the toilet, the unmistakable blurred silhouette of our strategic director came storming in my direction.
I froze with fear.

My first thought was that he must have been waiting for me and would be furious at being kept waiting! I felt my bowel and anus tighten again.
Mercifully he walked right passed me, smiled and went into the toilet locking the door behind him.

“I hope you find the newspaper” I chuckled under my breath.

As I walked back to my desk, I thought about the tale of the mouse and the lion and how the little old mouse helped the ferocious lion by removing the thorn from his paw. It certainly improved the mouse’s life to have such a gracious and powerful friend.

"I could be the mouse" I thought.

Should really go back and put some sheets of paper under the door, or offer some assistance to the guy?

Nah! Being a twat is its own reward!


James- My Arse Is On Fire

Beatles-Paperback Wiper

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