An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Legion of Evil-Doers (with Bashful Bladders)

Just got a call from Mrs. A. She asked if I had borrowed the library's laptop computer at some point this weekend. I had not. She sighed and said that it was now missing from its case, which was hidden away in Mrs. A's private office restroom, upstairs.

The restroom situation in the library is not an ideal one. The only public restroom we have is located downstairs, in a small closet wedged beneath the staircase itself, which is at the end of the computer hall. There's only one toilet in there and the little room is hardly soundproof. The fact that it's right by the three computers also means that after you've used the restroom anybody surfing the net knows all your business. It's bad enough when doing a #1, but God help you if you have a #2 on the docket. Then, not only will everyone know your business, but our lack of a ventilation fan and far-wandering can of Glade means they'll probably smell it too.

Now, this might seem to be a deterrent to most patrons "making stinky" on a regular basis, but believe me it doesn't scare off all of `em. At least once a week, as I meander back toward the computer hall, I'm hit with the unmistakable odor of a post-drop bowl-sinker and have to fight my way through it to get to the bathroom and spray something—ANYTHING—that might cut the stench. Half the time, there's a VERY obvious and accessible can of Glade or Lysol right there in the restroom, but does anyone ever think to actually USE it themselves? Hell no! It's always ME that has to do battle with Sterculius, the Roman God of fecal fumes. And if there's no Glade in there, I'm apt to grab some Clorox Cleanup or whatever else is handy and let fly.

And it always makes me feel more than a little odd that the owner of the ass that unholy cloud was birthed from is probably one of the folks at the computer at that very moment and that I have to do THEIR job of fumigating the whole place as they watch.

No one but the legendary and as yet unchronicled Serial Shitter has any good feelings toward our public restroom. (Well, S.S. and another mentally handicapped man who used to enjoy shoving stuff down the toilet, who subsequently, one Christmas, clogged our Ty-D Bowl with a Christmas wreath and bells so thoroughly that city employees had to be called out to physically remove said toilet from the floor itself in order to fish out the offending decorations.)

The other restroom we have is allegedly private. It's a slightly bigger closet tucked away in one corner of Mrs. A's upstairs office. For a private office bathroom, it sure gets a lot of traffic from non-"liberry" personnel. I guess some folks just don't want to pee with an audience, so they wait for Mrs. A to leave her office and sneak in for a quick wee. We know this because the people who sneak in there tend to be awfully sloppy with their urination skills and leave a few drops on the rim of the bowl. Now, I'm no stranger to a few stray drips myself, but I at least have the decency to wipe `em up afterwards. Buncha savages in this town.

It got even worse two summers ago when we had to close off the entire computer hallway for a full week to repaint the bathroom, re-floor the bathroom and varnish the wood floors of the computer hall. In order to keep people out of there, we hung a couple of truly colossal sheets of plastic over the opening to the hall and put giant signs on it saying THIS SECTION CLOSED DUE TO WET PAINT. We also put signs on the front door and at the desk advising our patrons we would not have a public restroom available to them until the work on the restroom was complete. Well, as evidenced by our tax form situation, none of our patrons are capable of reading signs.

So one evening, I heard watery noises coming from beyond the no-fly-zone-warning-curtains-of-plastic and knew someone had gone in there anyway. Sure enough, some of the heavy tape holding the plastic sheeting in place had been unaffixed from the wall. I pulled it aside and marched on in to confront our urination violator. About the time I reached the restroom, out he came. Now, even giving the guy the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he was an illiterate moron incapable of reading the signs telling him the restroom was closed and not to pull aside the plastic and go in anyway, to actually get in and out of the restroom he had to move a huge stack of full paint cans in cardboard boxes that we'd piled in front of the door to prevent just this sort of thing. On his way back out, he had to squeeze past them again and didn't immediately see me standing there with my arms folded. When he did catch sight of me, you should have seen the amazing look of guilt on his face. He began trying to make excuses for himself even before I told him that he wasn't supposed to be in the bathroom because there was lots of wet paint in there. Then, in his embarrassed haste to escape, he managed to tear down the plastic sheeting covering the hallway. Like I said, buncha savages.

Our upstairs restroom got a lot more unauthorized use that week, but there weren't' any real problems other than a few cleanups.

Unfortunately, these days the upstairs restroom also serves as a storage area for unused computer equipment, old files and records, and, most recently, the library's laptop, which is now missing and presumed stolen.

Topping our list of suspects... all patrons with bashful bladders.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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