As a parent, partner and office visitation hotspot, I get very little time to myself. Very little. So little that I genuinely enjoy doing things like meticulously hanging up the delicates load to dry or scrubbing the bathrooms 'cause while I'm doing these things I'm almost, almost able to pretend I'm having a couple of minutes alone (others in the household generally avoid entering my line of sight while I'm doing housework because they think I then won't notice that I'm the only person doing housework and make them do something). I joke about having alone time in the bathroom but every parent knows this isn't actually true - the kids simply view any of my bio breaks as their having a captive audience.
Possible taglines: "Can I have some waaaaaterrrrrr?" "Which tights do you think I should wear with this?" "Where's my yellow dino with the orangeish tail?" "How do you say 'metamorphic' in French?" "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU LITTLE FREAKS WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME WHILE I'M PEEING FOR GAWD'S SAKE COULDN'T YOU WAIT FOR TWO FREAKING MINUTES??"
Really, the only true, solid alone time I'm guaranteed to get in life is when I'm in a bathroom stall at work at, say, 6:30am. Thank you, exceedingly small bladder, for bringing me this solace. Namaste.
But something has been interfering with my beloved alone time of late, a nasty, pervasive and cloyingly sweet something called Passive-Aggressive Bathroom Signage (PABS). In the unlikely event you've never been unwillingly subjected to the phenomenon, it goes something like this:
Laaaaadieeees! To avoid Plugging and Overflowing the toilets Please don't flush Any feminine hygiene products that are Not supposed to be flushed. Also Please don't forget to flush the Toilets. Also please remember to Check to make sure the toilet is Flushed and that the stall is clean and sparkly for the Next Person to use it! Thanks Ladies!
Laaaaadieeees! Please! Don't Forget to wash your Hands really well with Soap and Water when you're done using the Facilities! It's Flu season! Also good hygiene is Always in season! Thanks Ladies!
Laaaaadieeees! Please be a Clean Angel and wipe Up any water ! drips On the counter With Your paper towel when ! you're Done Drying your Hands! Thanks Ladies!
Gratuitous deployment of exclamation points and capitalization of random words in text are hallmarks of PABS, and if only I could get Blogger to reproduce the barely intelligible script font and flowery pink background that are also characteristic I would. These things alone are enough to wreck my mind on a given day, but when combined with the theft of my precious little alone time it really makes me snap.
I'll tell you a secret: I'm the person who routinely removes the signage. I don't even recycle it, I just flush that shit right down the toilet and then I laugh - ha ha ha! - at the Plugging and Overflowing that ensue. Y'know why? Because I've been made insane by PABS and can't be held responsible for
my deep-seated feelings of aggression and rebellious rage. Plus there was no sign that told me I wasn't supposed to so clearly I couldn't have been expected to know better.
This week, there was a new development in the ladies rooms at work: laminated signs. Oh, yes. Passive-Aggressive Bathroom Signage at my office just got real.
The fourth floor counter-revolutionary cell has identified the need for similarly amped up tactics. Operative RedBot2 has proposed the following radical measures: produce our own laminated PABS. Post under cover of darkness in locations
proximal to existing signage. Recommend deployment of correct grammar and
punctuation, legible text and high-contrast background to further highlight
ludicrous nature of existing signage. Suggested topics include:
- Have you phoned your mother lately?
- The RRSP deadline for the 2012 tax year is fast approaching.
- When was the last time you completed a breast self-exam?
- Do you contribute to charity as much as you would have people believe?
- Eat 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day for optimal health.
- What would Grandma think of that fellow you're sleeping with?
- Please do not flush non-flushable signage.