I am a married man with a 2-year-old daughter and a full time job. There are very few moments in my life that are exclusively and unequivocally mine.
Sad as this may be, those moments typically occur behind a stainless steel, institutional type door, sometimes with a half naked man only inches away. Nonetheless, I savor these moments.
When I feel a moment like this coming on, usually about an hour and a half after my first cup of coffee, I prepare some light reading material - the sports guy’s column off of espn.com, or, if I’ve already read it, whatever I can find on Slate. And just so that no one in the office asks why I’m printing online magazines, rather than reading them straight from the screen, I cut and paste the content into a word document so it appears as if I’m simply reviewing my own hard work (any coworkers reading this should know that I use the black and white printer and reduce the font size to 9 pt. so as to keep the whole article under three pages. And I’m a pretty fast reader so we’re only talking 6-7 minutes total). I then sneak said article into my pocket so the receptionist, who I pass with every trip, won’t notice me carrying papers into the can.
This is all very premeditated and has become a natural part of my daily routine. Don’t take that away from me.
But for whatever reason, the building in which I work has hired a female custodian to clean the men’s bathrooms. I like a clean bathroom as much as the next guy, and frankly, I don’t care who cleans it. It seems to me that if a woman is going to be cleaning a men’s room and doesn’t want to be exposed to the inherent maleness that exists in there, they should take care of their custodial duties after hours.
Yet, every day, just as I reach that critical point of the article, where Dana Stevens explains to me why any guy who bashes Sex in the City, The Movie must be a misogynist wife-beater, or as Bill Simmons waxes poetic on the similarities between Red Sox Nation and the chosen people, in walks the Poo Lady.
Every fucking day. Regardless of the time.
She knocks first. But she enters as she knocks. And the only thing you can blurt out fast enough to avoid through-the-stall confrontation is a castrated sounding “I’m in here!”
She promptly retreats, but the damage is done. You know she’s out there. Just waiting to disinfect the foulness I’m in here creating. And she’s no more happy about it than I am.
No more Dana Stevens. No more sacred moment to myself. It’s just finish up and get out. And if all that weren’t enough, now I have to walk out past this woman and suffer the indignity of giving her my post-crap “all clear in there” thumbs up.
Maybe next time I’ll just let her come in and we’ll both go about our respective businesses.