Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: public restrooms

Day 25: I Resent Robot Restrooms

It’s beginning to look like you need to give me money if you expect me to show up regularly. (They caught onto that at my job.) But I gratefully thank hard-core FanBasers Nick, D., D.T., and of course Rom, for keeping me going. I suspect I’m not cut out for this writing business, not least because of the constant encouragement I apparently require.

But enough about me. Time to address the restroom at Bob Evans.

I have mentioned before my dislike of automated bathroom facilities, such as the new one at Thornton’s. I hadn’t been to Bob Evans for some time (it’s still freezing in there, though, whatever the weather–makes me feel like I’m at work), but now they’re part of the Brave New World of Bathrooms, too. They have a new twist (so to speak)–YOU CAN’T CONTROL THE %&*! WATER TEMPERATURE! There are no faucets, just a spout. At least they let you flush the toilet yourself, unlike Thornton’s. I’LL FLUSH WHEN I’M READY, OK? STOP SPLASHING ME!

STRANGE BELIEFS OF CHILDHOOD

Speaking of bathrooms and their main (non-bath) function–when I was a little kid, I used to think that when you flushed the toilet, the stuff you’d flushed went down to a big white porcelain-walled room, where it would make friends and socialize with all the stuff everybody else flushed. I also thought that people were hollow inside, and the food you ate went all the way down to your feet, and piled up inside you through the years. When it got up to your head, sometimes you puked when it reached your mouth, but it eventually piled up all the way up to the top of your head, and that’s when you died. I also thought the grown-ups turned into skeletons after I went to bed.

WHAT I SANG IN THE SHOWER TONIGHT

“She’s Not There,” because of the current Chanel commercial for Coco Mademoiselle perfume. It’s one of the rare instances where the commercial is actually making me want the product. I always liked the song, since I liked to think of myself as the kind of beautiful elusive bitch they were singing about. Apparently I am not alone in this, since Chanel is betting their vast advertising budget on it.

S.G.’S 25TH POST, 5/4/13: All the News That’s Fit to Eat

–There were 13″ of snow in May ’13 in NW Wisconsin, where my sister lives. I myself was born in SE Wisconsin, but even that is too snowy for me.

–May 2013 featured 27 posts–the most numerous month in S.G. history! Not only were posts longer in the early days, there were more of them. I guess I did peak too soon. The figures for the month were skewed by this idea I got that I needed to post every day of my vacation, which, as I recall, led to some boring posts. And yet now I’m doing it for a whole year, hmm…

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I Am Defiant

New sign at Wesselman’s grocery–“Backpacks must be left at front of store.” Right under the “We Do Not Have Public Restrooms” sign, hallmark of the customer-unfriendly society. (I recommend the government set up truly public restrooms–they would provide jobs! Or, as Rom and I say when some policy is promoted solely for its job-creating possibilities, JOOOBBBSS…said in a zombie BRAINNSS-type way. Try it, you’ll start saying it at the TV news like we do!)

Anyway (you knew there had to be a point here somewhere), I will resist this policy strenuously. Since I only go to the grocery store when I’m on the way to work, I always have a backpack (except when Nick steals it, and he has been banished to 3rd shift, so who cares about him). My aversion to such policies dates back to when I went to the $ General, and they told me to leave it at the front of the store, which turned out to be next to the plastic-bag dispenser (and I have a backpack, so I am virtuously free of the need for plastic bags), right next to the door, where anyone could easily snatch it and dash away. And would the cashier fight them for it, or indeed even remember who was supposed to have it in the first place? And it’s $ General policy to hire as few people as possible, to keep prices low, so that person is often stocking shelves and not even there to keep an eye on my stuff, which shouldn’t be their job, anyway. So now when I go there I just take a small tote bag, which is legally classified as A Purse, and not subject to confiscation.

Although I have no plans to steal anything, I feel like I do, plotting how to sneak my backpack in. Go wide around the cash register area, keep myself between the backpack and Them, keep it on the floor out of sight when I get to the checkout line. It’s like shopping at Walgreen’s, where I so love to browse, and sniff every new bottle of body wash I see, that I’m sure they think they just haven’t managed to catch me yet. I feel like saying, “Look! I could have easily hidden these bottles of nail polish in my bag, but here I am paying for them!” And I flash my “911 Dispatchers: Behind-the-Scenes Heroes” change purse. (For the record, I do not consider myself a hero, seeing nothing particularly heroic about sitting in a chair.)

CRISIS IN PROGRESS: EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT

Wow, we now have scissors at each console! Now I can clip any loose threads on my sleeve, instead of it driving me mad the entire shift. (I actually just used my scissors to clip a loose thread on my 911 Dispatchers Behind The Scenes Heroes change purse, so I’m feeling especially heroic.) And I would no longer be dependent on Nick to open my soy sauce for me when he brought food from Canton Inn, except, as I said,  he has been dragged by the tail to 3rd shift, and is unwept, unhonored, and unslept.

 IRONY IN ACTION

(Maybe Irony In Action should be its own subcategory.)

A guy called in saying he just found his girlfriend cheating on him, and she spit on him. Our caller had a tattoo on his arm saying RESPECT, and one on his back saying LOYALTY. Maybe she was just never in a position to see the one on his back.

WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN?

What always happens when it rains heavily? Why, people think they can drive through it, of course! The government should save the money it spends on public-service announcements saying Turn Around, Don’t Drown, and spend it on public restrooms, so the populace is no longer dependent on private businesses  allowing them to use theirs. Last night’s version of I Won’t Turn Around, I Can’t Drown occurred behind my house, and Nick had to swim them to safety on his back–always a risky proposition, since he might turn and bite if you try and grab onto his wings.

I’m Not the King of Comedy

…although I come closer to it than Michael Stipe, who wrote that line for R.E.M.

HOW I SPEND MY SATURDAY OFF

–At Walgreen’s, obtaining the Best of All Possible Body Washes, Dove’s Deep Moisture. (I was absurdly thrilled to discover it has matching deodorant.) Hey, Unilever! Want to use me in one of your ads? I got a unique personal style and stuff!

–Get a big fat Thornton’s drink (resisting the urge to get a FREE MEAL of donut and the dreaded Roller Grill Item, because, well because I already ate lunch). Am forced to relinquish said drink at the bus stop, thanks to hard-line driver who goes by the book of No Food Or Drink On The Bus, even though most don’t care as long as it has a lid. “I’ll just have to litter instead,” I grumble, barely audibly, leaving the cup on the sidewalk at Franklin/St Joe, where I’m sure I’ll see it again when I next go by there on Friday. (Resolve to mention littering in Confession next week.) The front of the bus then proceeds to discuss my misdeed with the driver. “If you spill it, I have to wait until someone comes out to clean it up, and you wouldn’t believe how long that takes.” I wonder, if someone got on with a bag of groceries, would she make them leave that behind?

Now normally, I’d cling to my drink and sullenly walk home instead, but I needed to get to Mass this afternoon, so I had no choice. And then, like the eternal conflict between matter and anti-matter (or David Letterman’s conflict between humidifier and de-humidifier), I encountered someone who’s as oblivious to social cues as I am, but is an extrovert. I’d encountered her before, and she was thrilled to discover we were riding the bus to the same church, and talked nonstop, oblivious to personal-space issues, of which I have a bunch.

“Hello, my friend!” she says, recognizing me. (“I’m not your friend,” I think, in an uncharitable and un-Christian manner.) “Are you on the way to church?”

I nod curtly and look away, not smiling, praying–well, wishing fervently, anyway–that a clue is acquired before we reach our destination. Luckily, I nervously got off at the stop before the right one, and she mistakenly got off at the stop after the right one, so all was not lost. Now, Nick, do you understand what a big deal making friends with me actually was? We won’t even mention what a challenge Rom had, except to note that it took years.

And, since there’s got to be a segue in here somewhere, this brings us to…

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF A POLICE BEAST

Rom bought a bunch o’bananas for banana-nut bread and/or muffins, and offered me one to take to work. “So that Nick can steal it?” I said. He is a known banana thief, and has a problem with recidivism. Rom suggested taking two bananas to work, so that one could serve as a decoy. But I figure that, if I burn Nick with a cigarette once or twice, he’ll learn.

“How can you say that?!” Nick wails. “How could you even think it?” He cowers in the corner, wrapping his tail tightly around his body. However, his gleaming claws are still visible, since they are only partially retractable.

“I wouldn’t really,” I say hastily. “You know that.”

“Do I?” He wraps his tail so tightly that the end is on top of his head. “I believe I know nothing of the kind.”

Resisting the urge to remind him that he is only a beast, and his powers of knowledge are necessarily limited, I settle for, “You know you can trust me.”

“Trust you to do the right thing? You tried to bring a drink on the bus.”

“OK, OK! I’m sorry.”

He brightens. “Can I have a banana now?”

“Of course you can.” I toss him one, and he gulps it down, peel and all. Does he have time to actually taste anything? He looks oddly…smug. I suspect this was an example of what he calls Tactics.

WANDERING BACK TO MY ORIGINAL STORYLINE…

I was fiercely determined to get another fountain drink to replace the one I’d lost, so after Mass I stopped off at the Howell Cultural Center, a/k/a the gas station at Barker & Broadway, where there is always someone working on a car. (Q: How many guys does it take to work on a car? A: Five–one to do it, and four to tell him how it should be done.) I had to use their graffiti-and-cootie-festooned restroom–Now With Racial Slurs! Underneath a sentiment I won’t repeat here, someone had  added, “Get into a lifted Chevy like a redneck!” Um, OK. Whatever you say.

And, since no day is complete without a bit of Righteous Indignation (like I don’t get enough of that at work) (or in my own head, for that matter), a woman came in to buy oil for her car (at least I think it was oil–some bottle of automotive-related fluid, at any rate), asked the clerk the going price, and when he said $4.99, said,  “I ain’t payin’ that! I’ll go to Dollar General and get it for 2 bucks!,” as if the clerk had set the prices personally, and done it just to annoy her. Kind of like the policies of the bus service, when you think about it. And I do.

This Just In

Rom’s three-year-old granddaughter Fiona informed us that her friend Bingo Pingo had recently died. We did not know much about him, except that he was large and lived in the forest. The cause of death remains uncertain at this time, but is probably due to a witch or a big bad wolf. (Evidence is sketchy, but these are the usual suspects in such cases.) However, Bingo Pingo’s friends Honn-ghost and Fronn-ghost managed, by the aid of powerful magic, to bring him back from the dead. Unfortunately, a spell with such power can turn on its user, and in the course of the proceedings, Honn-ghost and Fronn-ghost themselves died–and, as it turns out, Bingo Pingo himself is still in peril. Fiona and her brother Archer plan to neutralize this threat, using powerful magic which they intend to purchase at a gas station. (As Rom pointed out, magic is something most people could really use while on the road.) Archer is characteristically close-mouthed about the details of their plan, although he did confirm his own involvement. I wondered how Fiona and Archer could avoid the fate met by Honn-Ghost and Fronn-Ghost, but I couldn’t think of a tactful way of asking. I will keep you informed of any further developments.

MY DILEMMA AT THE THORNTON’S RESTROOM

You knew there had to be one eventually, didn’t you?

You know you’re in trouble when you not only see, but smell, that the women’s room is occupied. There was a stench extending into the hallway, and multiple flushes were called for. “Oh no! A multi-flusher!” I thought. “Not only will I pass out when I finally get in there and take a breath, but the next person will think I did it!” That was too much to bear, so I quickly slipped into the men’s room.

THINGS YOU LADIES ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MEN’S ROOM

–The walls are tan and the floor is brown, unlike the women’s room, where the scheme is, I believe, white and gray. (I can’t call it to mind for sure, even though I’ve been in there countless times.)

–The urinal is low enough for even little tykes like the aforementioned Archer, who is also three.

–Most interesting of all, the only functioning condom machine is in the WOMEN’S RESTROOM. How about that, ladies? “MALE SEXUALITY–WE DON’T CARE. WE DON’T HAVE TO.”

At any rate, I transacted my business, then thought, “With my luck, I’ll step out the door, and bump into Nick, who will then charge me with exposing myself in the men’s room, or something.”

Almost. He was around the corner, getting himself a fountain drink, so he’d have something to spill in the car later. He saw me and approached with great caution, ridging his back up, so I’d think he was even bigger. (He’s already bigger than I am, as he reminds me frequently. Yeah, and I don’t have wings and a tail either, so whatever.)

“Are you in mourning?” (I was all in black.)

“Yes, for the breakup of R.E.M.” (I was showing off my recently-acquired 1987 tour shirt, not that I saw them on the 1987, or indeed any, tour.)

He then quoted lyrics of “Losing My Religion” to me, which I believe he got by stalking the “About” part of my Facebook page. Unfortunately, he did not sing those lyrics, which I’m sure would have been worth hearing, for one reason or another.

Long story (as usual) short, I picked up the requisite apple ale for my current vacation, with the assistance of these two intrepid officers. This was a lot easier than carrying 2 6-packs myself, especially since I also had a fountain drink, and don’t have 3 hands. So Nick carried my fountain drink in his teeth (see–he can be gentle enough not to puncture styrofoam–a trick I haven’t completely mastered yet!). Yes, I was carded (I look pretty young, but I’m just backdated), and the clerk thoughtfully put the 6-packs in bags, so people wouldn’t think I was buying booze for the cops. I got into the squad car, thinking, “Tanya, please don’t give them a run…” (Although, in all fairness {well, some fairness}, I feel compelled to add that the last time a ride home almost turned into a ride-along, Nick did not make me beg to be let out of the car, as I’d feared he would.)

Nick pretended he was going to take a drink of my soda (think you’d enjoy caffeine-free diet cola with sugar-free mango spritzer, DO YA, PUNK?) (well, maybe he would–he drinks pink lemonade in public) and said, “Then you’d never throw away this straw,” which is mighty big talk coming from a beast who starts to salivate whenever he sees me. When we got to my house, he cheered me on through the police loudspeaker as I maneuvered my various beverages into the house, offering helpful suggestions as to how this might best be accomplished. And I am the thoughtful type, so I forgot to offer him and Sam banana nut bread with chocolate chips, which I had at my disposal.

I have more to say, including the Scratchy Glitter Guide to Fireworks, but I think I’ve gone on long enough. Apple ale awaits.

 

Ridiculous to Sublime

DOING THE DEVIL’S WORK

“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you been?’ Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Roaming the earth and patrolling it.'”

–Job 1:7

Mildly amusing adventures, one might say.

At McDonald’s, on St Patrick’s Day, besides the Shamrock Shake (presumably made from pureed shamrocks, and therefore to be avoided), they had some employees wearing little leprechaun hats. A customer was commiserating with one of those employees, and she said, “Oh, I got 3 paid breaks for wearing this hat!” I would wear anything if I could just get a real dinner break and not have to work while I eat.

Speaking of roaming the earth and patrolling it (don’t they pay Nick to do that? Did you know that Old Nick used to be a term for the devil?), Rom’s broken leg is finally fixed, and he doesn’t need to wear that weird boot thing anymore. But he won’t throw it away. In case he breaks his leg again? He is a big weirdo.

All the stink bugs that hid in our house for the winter are now crawling out of the woodwork (literally). Actually, we call them shield bugs. I read that it’s an alternate name for them, and I’m sure they’d prefer to be called that. One of them drowned in the cats’ water bowl, to their annoyance. Maybe I’ll borrow some of Nick’s frogs to deal with this problem.

UPDATE FROM YOUR RESTROOM CRITIC

–$ General on Barker: Now have a sign on their door saying “NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS.” (As does Dispatch–apparently day shift had a plague of people thinking it was their right as taxpayers to use our facilities, although the security cameras and double-locked doors should have alerted them to exactly how public we are.) The restrooms at DolGenCorp, as it likes to call itself, were always mythical anyway–the cashier always claimed the key was in the exclusive possession of the manager, who was always working somewhere in the bowels (pun unintended, as my puns usually are) of the store.

–Phillips 66: Now has a sign saying “No Paper In Toilet, Thanks.” Does that include toilet paper as well as feminine items? It may do no good to ask, since the clerk had to ask me which pieces of chicken were white meat. I answered “breast and wing,” and he asked me to point out which one was the breast. That explains the time he gave me 2 thighs.

–Thornton’s: Still the gold standard for public restrooms. Well, except for the piped-in slick dance pop, although there was a song the other day that sounded like Eminem doing reggae, which you have to admit is quite a concept.

By the way, next time someone at a business tells me “We don’t have a restroom,” I’m going to ask “Then where do the employees go?” I mean it.

 

–Walgreen’s: Have re-adopted the customer-unfriendly practice of a lock on the restroom door, which you have to ask a pharmacist to unlock for you, since the restroom is next to the pharmacy. I’m sure they’re thrilled. They told me, “We’ve been having some problems these past few weeks,” not knowing that I’m actually in a position to verify that. (It was true.) I tried to see what the combination on the lock is, but they’ve been trained to stand between you and the door. I’m rebellious like that.

MY TINY ACTS OF REBELLION

–When paying my bills, if they say “Please put your 19-digit account number on your check,” I won’t do it. And who really needs a 19-digit account number anyway? They don’t have 19 digits’ worth of customers.

–Bill-paying brings out rebellion in me, apparently. I mark down the check to Vectren in my checkbook as “SIGECO,” although I don’t have the nerve to put that on the check itself, in case they refuse to cash it.

–Putting “Pay Your Bills Online Instead!” all over the envelope is the surest way to get me to not do that. I want them to give a person a job putting my information in their computer, instead of having me do it for them. I won’t bag my own groceries, either. Not that I shop for groceries, and Rom insists on bagging his own. Hmm.

Well, when I sat down I thought I had a lot to write, then I couldn’t remember any of it, then I thought of a bunch of other stuff to write instead. This is called bipolar blogging.

EVENING AT THE PALACE OF ANSWERS

“Do you go to the temple tonight?

Do you not go to the palace of answers with me, Marie?”

–Patti Smith, “Ain’t It Strange” (some less-reverent lines deleted)

 

Regardless, after I was done roaming and patrolling, I headed to Sacred Heart (or Scared Heart, as Rom called it in his youth–Corpus Christi was Carcass Crispy) for confession, so I could bore Bishop Thompson with my chickenshit sins. Without detailing what transpired there, let me just say that there are few things cooler than a Catholic church at dusk.

 

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