Vaguely threatening

Every visit to the WC at work is an exercise in probabilities and conditional decision-making. The first level of assessment that must be made is the basic bathroom stall usage rules. I know most people think the rules only apply to urinals, but there is a stall version and it’s equally applicable to women. To wit:

  • If possible, you must leave an empty stall between you and the next person.
  • Therefore, if you are the first person, select an end stall to allow the maximum number of people to maintain 1 empty stall distance until the maximum is achieved.
  • If the stalls face each other (let’s say a row of 3 each) and stalls 1 and 3 are occupied on one side, then you are obliged to take stall 2 on the other side to maximize empty stall space peripherally and diagonally.

Now, if you really have to go, this seems like enough cogitation to really push the limits of patience, but as adults, we all seem pretty good and triangulating the coordinates of the appropriate stall and getting to business.

However, if your office building facilities have not been updated in a while and there are additional quirks, calculations can become more complex:

Stall 1 left has a toilet that requires you to hold down the handle until it’s fully flushed, and then the stopper thingy often gets stuck and must be jiggled to stop it from running. You can take your chances with this one with a 50% probability that the previous person didn’t flush long enough and/or that it’s been running the whole time and is without the requisite level of water. Stall 2 left is mostly okay, but due to location, is not always in optimal triangulation (see above). Stall 3 left also requires you to hold the flush and wait to ensure that there has been successful draining, and then take at least 2 minutes to stop its refill cycle, during which time you can’t flush again. This means if you prematurely abandon a flush, you must wait for the full cycle before being able to flush again, and if you choose the stall and cycle is not complete, you must wait for it before you can flush again. Stall 4 right is also okay and is often the best choice. Stall 5 is the wheelchair stall, so you must also make sure that no one with a wheelchair is coming in if you want to use it, and then it is one of those toilets where the water comes within millimeters of breaching the rim so there’s a moment of panic at each cycle.

There’s an air of menace in the room at all times – what with the rules, and the constant threat of overflowing.

And also last week, while I was in a meeting, someone anonymous left an “egg checker” on my desk. It appears to be a little doodad that you put into the water when you are boiling eggs. It looks like a little read magic eight ball, except it says “hard boiled” or “soft in the middle”.

Here’s what I don’t get: I don’t recall ever talking about eggs at work, so what should I make of this gift? Am I hard boiled, soft in the middle? Good egg? Bad egg? Did anyone else get a random boiled egg indicator?? I just don’t know.

Tags: , ,