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.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Attack of the S.E.W.S.

Recently, I began noticing that every time I checked our public men's restroom to make sure it was clean and stocked with necessities, the countertop around our sink was awash with water. This seemed very odd, to me, because the sink's faucets are quite tame in their water pressure and wouldn't have splashed onto the countertop without a goodly degree of help.

I theorized that we had another mystery patron on our hands, akin to the Serial Shitter. This new shadowy figure, however, could only have been known as the Serial Excessive Water-Splasher, which isn't nearly as sexy a name.

Now, granted, we're very happy that our patrons are washing their hands after making tinkle or stinky, but it's very annoying to have to mop up excess water several times per day. And, sure, our paper towel dispenser is nearly three feet away from the sink itself, requiring some degree of travel from the sink, over the countertop and a small section of floor to reach the towels. However, the fact that I'm perfectly capable of washing my hands in the very same sink without leaving even one drop on the counter would seem to indicate that this wasn't the root cause of the problem. I tried various ways of testing the sink to make sure it wasn't a defect in its manufacture, but could not recreate the water pooling effect through natural use. The additional fact water is often splashed on BOTH sides of the sink and not just the one nearest the paper towels indicated to me that someone was intentionally moistening our countertop.

Mrs. A suggested it was the doing of some of our Unobstructed Doors clients. That I would be able to accept, but for the frequency of the occurrence. This was happening not only daily, but multiple times during the day. This was the fault of a regular, which narrowed the spectrum of the search somewhat.

Right away the list of my top suspects included Gene Gene the Geneal0gy Machine, Mr. Little Stupid and The Coot. I was particularly suspicious of The Coot, because while Gene and Mr. Little Stupid can hog up the innanet for hours at a time, the Coot regularly stays parked in our comfy chairs by the windows for the entire day. He builds himself a little nest there, with stacks of books and magazines and personal belongings on the tables nearby. We even had a recent incident in which the Coot vanished, leaving his nest behind including his glasses and a light jacket. We searched the entire building for him, fearing he'd crawled off somewhere and died, but couldn't find a trace of him. Eventually, he walked in the front door, having gone on a stroll outside for a while, returned to his nest and remained there for the rest of the day.

Yeah, I could see the Coot splashing water. He was probably one of these people who eshewed the use of paper towels entirely, preferring either an air-dryer or, because we lack an air-dryer, to just fling the water from his hands in the general direction of our countertop. The only problem with this is that there is never water to be found on the mirror above the sink, which you would expect to find following a hand-flinging. Also problematic, the water on the countertop usually appeared in a volume that was more than could have dripped off of two hands on one try. Again with the evidence of premeditation.

Days later, I noticed the Coot was in-house and that someone had again moistened our bathroom counter excessively. I cleaned it all up and set about to keep watch on the people who went into the restroom. After a couple of hours, the Coot gathered up his belongings (leaving behind all the piles of magazines and books he'd been browsing) and departed the building. Less than 30 seconds later, he returned, stepped into the restroom for a minute, then departed for good. I bolted for the restroom. Sure enough, there was a damned lake atop our counter!

"AH HAH!" I cried in a low whipser upon exiting and making my way back to the circ-desk. "It's the Coot!"

Mrs. B looked confused until I told her the breakthrough in my investigation. She found it improbable that the Coot was the only suspect, as the ladies room seems to have its fair share of excess water splashing too.

I then dashed to find Mrs. A and tattle on the Coot. I figured she'd be up in arms, as he's one of her least favorite people, even though he no longer parks outside her office to groan and fart and sing. She wasn't surprised at the news, but said there wasn't much we could do about it. It would just be one more thing to add to the list of annoying habits this man exhibits in our presence, for several hours at a stretch, on a daily basis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Juice--Water sleuthing? Geez, I think you're gonna have to find a hobby.