My desk at work is right next to the bathroom. And I don’t mean a restroom with stalls. I’m referring to a broom closet with a toilet. Five feet from my keyboard, people are making bodily noises I wouldn’t wish upon the ears of my enemies. Worst of all, the acoustics of the bathroom lends itself to echoes. Repeatedly reminding me I need new headphones.
Sometimes the noises are lighthearted; liquid ricochets and clanking belt buckles. Other times I am treated to what can only be described as meatballs blowing into trumpets, as they fall into a well. All the Febreze in the world couldn’t cover the injustices done to my nostrils on a daily basis.
The location of my desk has led me to being nominated as the unofficial bathroom attendant. When the toilet paper is near its end, I get the blame. “The soap dispenser is empty,” they’ll say. As if I keep a supply of toiletries next to my computer. “Why are there no paper towels?” they’ll ask. “Because your co-workers are too lazy to replace them,” I’ll think to myself with a shrug and a sympathetic smile.
But I’m stuck here; left to defend my senses from such putrid atrocities. Wishing I could work outdoors, like it’s a warm summer day and the teacher asked if we’d like to have class outside.
It would be nice, just once, if someone could walk out of the bathroom, look in my direction, and apologize. Say “sorry,” for what they made me experience. Have regret for forcing me to participate in their intestinal strife. Feel remorse for torturing my nostrils and tormenting my ears. But like the homeless man begging for change as you’re late for work, they just keep moving. Saying nothing to avoid embarrassment. Avoiding situational recognition so as not to acknowledge the abuse.
They just go about their day, eating bean salads for lunch. Drinking that extra cup of coffee. Snacking on cheese sticks and onion rings. Without a care in the world. Because when they leave that bathroom, their life goes on. While I am left trying to cope all alone.
My hope is this tale reaches those unaware of the person with the desk near the bathroom. It is too late for me. My fate has been determined. But it’s not too late for you to make a change. To think about the co-worker sitting next to toilet. To consider their senses. Admit they have feelings. Remember they’re just like you, regardless of their unfortunate location. And if you remember but one thing, please make it this: spray Febreze upon exit.