He was a large man prone to leaning up against cube walls as he trudged down the halls and, for reasons we could only speculate about, would set up camp in the corner stall of the third floor men’s bathroom a couple times a day.
We didn’t know where he came from or who he belonged to…our company or someone else’s. We weren’t the only tenants in the building, but we were also a company just big enough to not necessarily know everyone. He may very well have worked for us…but we couldn’t say for sure. But what we did know is that we worked on a floor occupied predominantly by women which is why we assumed he deemed our men’s room a safe haven. Or safe enough anyways.
We were first introduced to Stinky Toilet User one day around 3:00 as Cookie, one of six third floor workers who are male, came sprinting back to his cube.
Do NOT, for any reason, go in the men’s room right now…or for the next ½ hour for that matter.
I looked at him sideways as I am female and had no intentions of ever going in the men’s room. (Although I did years later at a concert where the women’s line was 30 deep and my husband vouched there were open stalls in the men’s room and escorted me in past surprised, drunk men and a very nervous small boy…but I digress.)
He glared back at me and assured me he had not meant me.
Us ladies took his word for it and Earl, male #2, didn’t risk it.
The next day the Stinky Toilet User plot thickened. I was at my desk, minding my own business (you can choose to believe that or not…those who know me will say I was probably NOT minding my own business) when Cookie came barreling down our cube farm aisle again. He was red faced and gasping for air as he rounded the corner of my cube. Bent over with his hands on his knees, he proceeded to tell us Stinky Toilet User was back. And this time he had been in the stall for so long that the automatic lights in the bathroom had gone out.
As Cookie nonchalantly walked into the bathroom, he assumed he was alone as the bathroom was dark. The lights flickered on as they sensed movement, but just as he went to step up to the closest urinal he heard a scuffle from the back corner. He quickly realized he was not alone in the bathroom and quickly came to two conclusions. One…there was a high probability it was Stinky Toilet User in the back stall and two…there may be a major bathroom event about to happen and he sure as shit better make this trip quick.
As we stood around debating whether Stinky Toilet User was still in the bathroom at this point, we also began to wonder other things. The most important question was how long exactly does it take for the lights to turn off by themselves. How long had Stinky Toilet User actually been in there? We could only assume that it would be longer than 5 minutes as it could potentially take someone 5 minutes to take care of their business. So then could it be 10 minutes? Because again, 10 minutes seems like a reasonable time someone could be in a bathroom. We could only speculate that it had to be at least 15-20 minutes before the light sensor would sense no motion and turn off. So, if you assume 15 minutes, then you have to think that if you’re in the corner stall working on your situation for 15 minutes, you would figure at that point it was just not going to happen and maybe you should call it and try again later.
We also decided that even if you DID want to work out your situation for longer than 15 minutes, wouldn’t you try and activate the light sensor when the lights went out so as NOT to be found sitting in the dark? You could definitely toss rolls of toilet paper over the stall door to try and activate the lights, right? But, even if you did manage to trigger the lights back on, then you risk having someone walk into a bathroom that now looks like someone tried to teepee the place.
In the end, this guy had probably found himself in a no win bathroom situation.
As the story of our third floor bathroom visitor spread, it became our duty (that’s right) to alert the men of floor three when the Stinky Toilet User was in the area. I happened upon the violator one day as I was getting off the elevator. There he was, waiting for the elevator, breathing heavily…too heavily…with one hand pressed against the wall supporting himself while he waited. I literally sprinted down the hall to our cube farm knowing fully well if Stinky Toilet User was breathing that hard after just coming out of the bathroom, the men of the third floor were NOT going to want to visit anytime soon.
In the end, we never discovered who Stinky Toilet User was. I believe he probably had too many run ins with other third floor male bathroom users and decided to take his business elsewhere. Godspeed Stinky Toilet User. Hopefully you found a safer bathroom with no light timers.