Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Open Letter to the Lady with the Turquoise Sandals

Dear Lady with the Turqoise Sandals,
This letter is not about your shoes, although god knows your choice of footwear merits its own Open Letter. Because really. Are those things rubber? And turquoise? Common sense tells me that you can either wear rubber shoes or you can wear turquoise shoes but you just simply cannot wear rubber turquoise shoes. Especially after Labor Day. Color me conventional but there, I said it. However, I am not writing this letter to address your shoes; this letter is to address your shit. You see, you have violated some of the long-held universal tenants of office pooping and I am here to school you. Draw those flip flops up to your chest lady. You can (have the) run(s) but you can’t hide (in that stall forever)--things are about to get a bit grotty in this here workspace. Ah, yeah. I'm going there.

For most of my life I only pooped at home. No matter if I was on a long weekend getaway or at work. I held it and held out and to all the world I had no butthole. Life was good (if a little crampy). Then one day things changed. I had to go. Like, really. I had to go. I’m still not sure if this is a positive side effect of aging: you get more comfortable with the fact that you are human and thus poop. Or a negative effect of aging: You physically cannot hold it in anymore for days on end. So now I poop. I poop at restaurants. At other people’s houses. I poop in Port-a-Potties if things are unfortunately dire and I also poop at work.
As a seasoned everywhere pooper I have done my homework on best practice of poop. This is what I know: the fourth stall is the best. It’s farthest away from other paying customers. It’s got a modicum of privacy. If someone is in the fourth stall you let them be. How do you know someone might be in the fourth stall, you ask? Well, a fourth stall occupant might choose to employ one of two moves: the Astaire, a subtle toe-tap, or a Camo-Cough, a phony clearing of the throat to alert all entrants to the bathroom that someone is in the fourth stall. If you hear either one of these moves then proper poop protocol clearly states that you leave the bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace. You don’t rattle the handle like you did, Dear Turquoise Sandal Lady, and when a meek voice calls out someone’s in here! you don’t sigh as if someone stole your parking space. Because that, my friend, is called being a Turd Burgler. And clearly I was there first.
Number two (pun intended; poop puns are just funny): You don’t then go into the third stall. No. The third stall is dead space, a divider between the worlds of pee and poop, a taint, if you will, of the public restroom. The third stall does not get used, particularly when the fourth stall is clearly occupado and the other stalls are vacant. Got that, Turquoise Sandal Lady? No. Third. Stall. And yet there you were, your rubber turquoise sandals practically toe to goddamn toe with my ballet flats.
Then there’s this: you don’t trump somebody else’s poop. Because that’s what you did to me. You sat there in the third stall and tried to out-wait me. Oh, I toe-tapped and coughed and even rustled my jeans a little, a move I made up there on the fly out of desperation, but clearly you would not budge. So I was the bigger person Turquoise Sandal Lady, and I packed it up. I puckered and I packed, washed my hands (of nothing!) and left. Face Off. Turquoise Sandal Lady: 1 (#2). Susannah: zip.
I went back to my desk and I did some work. I gave you 10 minutes and then I did a quick Fly By (the act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping) but still you were there. I let 15 more minutes pass. But remember Dear Turquoise Sandal Lady I am now 36 goddamn years old. Too young for Depends but too old for a long weekend of nothing or a long morning with a venti chai and a bran muffin. Things were coming to a head and I didn’t want to have to walk around Crop Dusting (which is completely unacceptable, btw, no matter the situation).
So yes, I returned to the bathroom. And yes, those damn Turquoise Sandals were still there peeking out from beneath the third stall. And yes, I probably should have left. But I didn’t. I returned to my rightful throne in the fourth stall and set up shop. And so there we sat, two coworkers not two feet away from each other pooping. And that is just not okay. Because TSL? I feel I can call you that now, can’t I? After all, we’ve shit together, holding hands practically. TSL, my compadre of the can, I have a friend I’d like you to meet. Her name is Courtesy Flush. She is the act of flushing the instant your poop hits the water, thus reducing the amount of time the poop has to stink up the bathroom. Courtesy Flush, meet Turquoise Sandal Lady. Please meet her, greet her and use her liberally. Public pooping is not the time to worry about water conservation.
And last but certainly not least, there’s this. I finished first. What can I say? You were in there for a total of 35 minutes. Clearly you ate some bad fish tacos the night before or something but I had work to do so I finished first. Proper Poopiquette says that you wait there in your precious little third Turd-Burgled stall and wait for me to wash my hands and exit the bathroom altogether. But nooooo. You’re quite the renegade of the restrooms, aren’t you TSL? A defector of the defecation treatise. Because you chose the exact moment I was at the sink to come out of your stall. Dear Turquoise Sandal Lady, I have a vague notion that your hair is blonde but that’s about it. You forced me to do the Walk of Shame, both of us really, standing there side by side washing our hands in a cloud of colonic stench. I could not look you in the eye, could not meet my own eyes in the mirror, really, and now I am left with just this: the image of those goddamn heinously ugly rubber turquoise sandals.

49 comments:

Thaozle said...

This entry was too much! Mostly because I've made these EXACT observations ... but without the courage to voice them aloud. The worst part of intra-office bathroom etiquette? Having to deal with your bowel and bladder movements while sharing the same (barely separated) 400 sq. ft. as your boss.

Kamryn said...

LMAO!!! I'm a big proponent for poopiquette. One should never occupy the next stall over when there are a plethora of stalls to choose from. Thanks for the mid-week chuckle!

Jen said...

HI-LARIOUS! You always say the things I think, but aren't eloquent enough to put into words. I appreciate the afternoon chuckle!

Amanda said...

Oh My God...there are tears streaming down my face. Thank God for you, Susannah.

Courtney said...

This is a stinkin' hilarious post! Maybe the funniest of all...and so, so true!

daisies said...

oh my !! turquoise sandals is my worst nightmare !!

which is why i make the trek all the way down the elevator to the concourse level, oh yes i do ...

Erin said...

Oh. My. God. I am literally laughing out loud. Every word you wrote is SO TRUE of office poop politics. That was one of the funniest things I've ever read in my life. Thanks, S!

Marisa said...

OMG! Thank you. I finally can "come out" (out of the stall, that is): I, too, poop! And, after many years of sadly succumbing to sentiments of shame over normal bodily functions, I now POOP WITH PRIDE.

After all, there's nothing like vacant pipes, even if you are forced to vacate the pipeline in public!

Jules said...

I think this is one of my favorite posts from you. It was just damn funny. This line:

a taint, if you will, of the public restroom.

is a gem.

Rosalie said...

This needs to be printed out and hung from every office bathroom in the country. So true. So funny. I am going to read it again.
Love,
Rosalie

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Oh God! That was funny! So very very funny!

Robin said...

Publicc pooping is one of the things I don't miss about working in a big office with a multi-stall restroom.

WHAT is that thing in the photo? A group toilet?

Anonymous said...

I have sooooo been in this situation!!!! It is unbelievable how many women don't know the rules of office pooping!!! I can't tell you how many drive-by's I had to do before I could poop in peace. And then some TSL-type would come in and drop a delivery right in the stall next to me. I's get so GD mad!!!

Claire said...

Seriously... funniest thing I've read all week. And I've been reading 15-year-old boys' "personal essays" (high school English teacher here). Brilliant. And absolutely hilarious!

amber {daisy chain} said...

It always amazed me that you (of all people) could poop at work. This subject seems to coming up more and more at the office lately, seeing that my desk is now RIGHT smack next to the men's bathroom door. and believe me, they have noooo problem with pooping on the job, I have special candles set and ready for these moments.

Judy said...

I really wish I could remember the quasi clever, euphemisticly named product I saw advertised recently. It was designed purely to cover poop smells in public or friends bathrooms. It wasn't cheap (for what it really is anyway) and it was designed to look like an expensive perfume bottle. One discreet squirt into the toilette bowl pre-evacuation and guaranteed to completely eliminate any hint that shit had been shat.

Sus, you find every weird produst known to human-kind so you probably know what the name of said product is. That this item even exists gives credence to your hysterically funny and dead-on observations re public pooping etiquette-most specifically, the workplace shit.

I, alas have access to a work restroom with ONLY 2 stalls. Now if that isn't inhumane, I can't think what is! So now, after the years it took to finally get me to attain my public pooping persona, I have reverted once again to chronic, self-imposed constipation because, face it, once the urge has passed, it's really hard to shit on demand once home.

And even if I found the magical mystery feces odor neutralizer(and I say "feces" only because I AM a nurse after all), and even if it miraculously worked, it still doesn't address the tell-tale toilet time or any involuntary but satisfying grunts or sighs of completion. So, I'm fucked.. fecally that is-otherwise notsomuch.
NOT the MOPF This TMI Comment.

Gin said...

Dude, you've GOT to read this (old) post Sars wrote about The Ethics Of The Poo Stall:

http://tomatonation.com/?p=873

Mollie said...

That product was probably poopouri. No joke. I see it everytime I walk into the Garden of Eden (not the bible variety but the nice smells store variety). Never tried out its claim but I guess the Chicago Tribune likes it. Check it out! http://www.poopourri.net/
PS-You should get paid for your blogging, do you know that? I look forward to my little chuckle daily.

hej said...

Good poop de jour.

Next time, you might bring along a tube of fast drying glue. Passing by Tuquoise Sandal Lady's latched and locked door, you roll a lipstick, one that you never want to see again, under her door for maximum distraction. As TSL looks to this rolling gift ..... "Just a little dab'll do'er", a big glob is better ..... and TSL should be in virtual lockdown with plenty of time to reconsider her oafish behavior .... unless she decides to crawl out from under.

pam said...

I feel your pain! That is just wrong, especially the exiting while you were washing up-like another minute added to her 35 would have killed her-wrong, wrong, wrong. That's why I avoid the public poop at all costs.

Lapetitemort said...

Perfecto. There should be a way to punish TSL inadvertently, but in a funny way.

It's a shame because the small office that I used to work in had become so homey, that the girls and I had a courtesy. We'd walk to each other and say, "Do you have to go to the bathroom? Because after I run there, you may not want to go in for 15." It's a shame when you become so comfortable that you announce there will be poop coming, a bomb drop warning, if you will.

j

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse would have been if she would have started a conversation breaking THE #1 stall rule.

Aartee said...

LOL this post was hilarious!! Thanks for the laugh at work :)

crabapple said...

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one with these thoughts, I suffered for years from various bathroom encounters very similar to the one you had with TSL.

Although I now have iron clad bowel control after working in a 400 square foot office with 1 toilet and a MALE boss.

The male boss has no trouble pooping there though.. When I complain about it at home my husband says "lions have to poop near their den"--whatever that means.

jess@thehomebound said...

That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. My stomach hurts now from laughing. You know it's true, why would someone want to poop with you?

Oh, I'm coming back after that post!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I too, use the 4th stall. But only for peeing.

Because I have found the hidden gem on my floor - right next to the conference room, there's a single woman's bathroom!

And I blatently ignore the posted sign that says: FOR USE BY VISITORS ONLY.

Nothing better than being able to poop in peace.

Kendra plus 2 said...

At my old office we went over and above the camo-cough and Astaire. If there was a lurker we went for pure embarassment. Nothing clears out a possible TSL like the 'enjoyment moan'. This also ensures the above mentioned lurker will hang out in the stall until after you're gone. Try it some time, it works like a gem!

bakingwithplath said...

Hahaha! I can definitely relate to this post. Hilarious!

Mags said...

Too funny and too true!!! Thanks for the laughs.

T with Honey said...

Got here from Trenches of Mommyhood. I hear ya! And I am so grateful that I have numerous bathrooms at the office from which I can hide and do my business in peace.

And wouldn't you agree that she should have to make up for this breach in protocol by bringing a can of air freshener for bathroom? I loved that at my last office. We kept a can of Febreeze air effects in the ladies' room for just such occasions.

Simply AnonyMom said...

BLogger ate my first comment!!

Thank you for posting this. These are universal laws, including and not limited to store bathrooms.

I want to add that it is NEVER acceptable to choose a stall next to the lady kneeling while her 3 and 4 yr olds pee and crap explosive diarrhea when there are 3 other stalls available!!

I am linking to you tomorrow and want to THANK YOU for letting me laugh so hard today.

catnip said...

OMG. I'm so glad I don't work in an office anymore.

Richie Designs said...

beautiful, gut-wrenching [pun intended] writing.
----

as my b-friend once said when he managed a staff of 50+ people in a Fortune 100 company.

"The first thing I told my staff when I'm showing them around is don't shit on your own floor -take the elevator down or up but don't shit on your own floor."

he was dead serious about that fact.

Velma said...

OMG - I am laughing so damn hard, and my kids want to know what's so funny. How did I never read this blog before?

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I did a whole post about this, but yours is much funnier!

Jennifer said...

OMG that was one of the funniest things I have ever read!!

In (Not So) Perfect Balance said...

O!M!G! I haven't laughed that hard in a while. You need to write a book!

MB

benson said...

too funny. We have Mr. Janitor man who poops after lunch (there is only ONE bathroom) and marks his territory for all the females who will now NOT be able to go into the bathroom without a hazmat uniform on. He struts around afterwards like a big old rooster who did his duty...its gross.

CSierra said...

Congratulations! Your "proper poopiquette" is circling the country. Great blog. Lots of tears from laughing!!!!

Oh, The Joys said...

Poop protocol is lost on me because I have no shame. I will poop anywhere in any stall any time. (I would NOT wear turquoise rubber sandals, though. All is not lost.)

The Lil Bee said...

Funniest post ever. EVER. On any blog. In the history of blogs. How does this lady not know the etiquette of communal bathrooms? You pulled out all stops! Her pooping privileges should be revoked. Although, I don't think this woman knows much about anything, given her choice in footwear.

Patois said...

How do we learn such etiquette? It must just be primal. Because no one ever put it all out there for me, like you just did, but I knew it all already. And I abide by it. Dumb-ass TSL.

Congrats on the ROFL award!

Ali said...

dear god, if only my office bathroom had more than 3 stalls. i NEED a fourth. but bad.

love love love this.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Damn. I've learned a lot from this post. I've always been an Instant Shit kind of girl. In the time it takes someone to take a piss, I've done my business and am off to better things. Know that I know the Rule of the Fourth Stall, I promise to abide by it.

monkey said...

i can't believe i hadn't read this yet.
hi, miss courtesy flush, meet your twin.
i'm feeling two things right now.
1~a little sad i'm not the only brilliant one
2~amazed that you write shit (HA! SEE WHAT I DID THERE!) that is in my head like that.
it's creepy in a really good way.

A Perfect Gray said...

wow! I'm commenting on a two-year-old post.

but it was really, really good!

Anonymous said...

what's with the rubber turquoise sandals?
tackey loud color?
rubber is too casual?

supriest68 said...

"An Open Letter to the Lady with the Turquoise Sandals"

Totally low class. I came across this blog some time ago searching for something else and I can't get it out of my head. First of all if you feel strongly enough about it, you should have taken care of it right then and there. This is a useless way to get your point across to the antagonist.
Perhaps this woman was constipated, in pain, and not thinking about the so called bathroom etiquette. And whatever choice of shoes or sandals she goes with is totally unrelated to it and not for you to judge whatsoever. Do you think you are showing more class by posting about your bathroom activities using foul language to the world and even showing a picture of yourself and your family. That is a perfect way to bring your image down to pond level and embarrass the rest of your family, if they are normal. You'll all probably be furious at me for telling it like it is but that's fine. And all those other commenters who think you're so funny are idiots as well.

Petunia Face said...

Dear Supriest,
Thank you for commenting on this 4 year old blog post. It would seem that this is not the blog for you; I recommend you simply find something else to read.
Yours,
S

P.s. You remind me of a shart, I.e. unexpected and a total bummer.