silly sphincter

The newest large part of my job is cleaning public restrooms.

Now, you don't know me, but those of you who *do* can attest to the point that I rarely, if EVER, in my pre-Rio life used public restrooms. Well, not for tinkling anyway ... but I digress. I loathe the whole concept of zillions of random humans going into the same space to void their interiors. It absolutely creeps me right the fuck out. *shivers*

Once again, my daughter is teaching me to embrace, literally, the unknown. I had the first inkling of impending disaster when we went to Florida in March. She was new at the training thing; interested in M&M's but not overly concerned with perfection. We were in JFK and I could clearly see that anyone who's job it was to pick up anything, anywhere in the airport, had been fired. The place was a disgusting pit. We're shlepping from one terminal to the another one across town* and I stop to get her a book to read in her stroller. She spies the M&M's and immediate starts to wail, "I HAVE TO GO TINKLE ON THE POTTY!" and I try to whisper, quite aware of how much of an asshole I would sound like if overheard, "You can tinkle in your dizzle. I'll give you a tinkle treat anyway," but she persisted with the hollering about tinkle and potty and right now pleeeeeeease so I was forced to capitulate.

I have her stand in the corner of the stall while I scrub the whole toilet and anything else she might come in contact with with wet wipes. And no gloves. I literally was wretching and scrubbing and the smells have not been forgotten and all manner of detritus that needed to be coaxed off with a barely protected fingernail - I'll be right back, I gotta hurl ...

Anyway, we always tinkle before we go out so that's under control. She's still a poop holdout cuz she doesn't like to go. ?? So she waits until the last possible second. Only problem? She's not sure exactly which second is the last second, so we have a lot of 'maybe' mania lately. She'll give me the hysterical, "I gotta poop the potty right now!" and I scrambled like a lunatic to clean a public stall without vomiting because she can't prepare herself for a goddamned trip to the grocery store.

So far today I've scrubbed a toilet in the following locals:

*BJ's: has the added bonus of the motion sensor that I have to disarm and cover before she sees it because they scare her to death. You can totally disarm the sensor by draping a wet wipe over it :)

*Old Navy: I just tell myself that all those skinny girls don't eat so they probably don't poop, either...

*Whole Foods Market: at this point I know it's a game cuz she really just wants to go in there to look at the baby changing table. She hollers until I wipe that down, too, and unfold it to show her and throw myself between her and random baby ass germs because she's convinced touching it will bring passage to Nirvana.

*Cold Stone Creamery: People, if you're fucking lactose intolerant STOP EATING MOTHERFUCKING ICE CREAM, WOULDYA? enough said.

In the toystore she gave me the look and I said, "Forget it. We're going home right now and I think you'll be okay. Let's go!" and we begin the mad dash home. Now I'm looking in the mirror at her pinched face and I start to feel wretched because that's how you always feel when you used to have a job where you bossed people around and had meetings and wore clean clothes and you leave all that behind to raise a child from scratch with no experience and you are actually losing weight burning so many calories with epic amounts of self doubt...


... we make it home. Our bathrooms are all clean. Truth? They sort of smell like a train station where hobos live because she likes to look when she tinkles so there is tinkle everywhere and if I don't clean the bathrooms every day, which believe it or not I don't always have time to, well, they no longer always smell like lavendar Mrs. Myers. Fucking shoot me. You try keeping this joint spotless and have all the ironing done and it takes half a day to go to three stores with all the "Can I ride the boat? Don't put money in it. I don't want it to go fast. Just catch me!" and all the scrubbing....


I get her on the potty. She is clearly in distress and still trying to squeak 4 more minutes of poop ownership out of today ... she tries to scoot of the potty and I say, "No way. You have to poop. We'll wait!" and she says, "No, I don't. I have to play marbles!" and as I'm guiding her ass back to the seat she poops on my leg a little bit.

Needless to say she's feeling better after, um, the successful and rather massive transfer of ownership. Me? Me, you ask? I'm still a little shocky that this is the high point/most exciting part of my day.



Nancy said...

Yeah, I've been there. I'm still there. I never knew how much I would miss diapers until the first time we visited a public restroom together. Where he had to touch everything. And yes, I know the irony of having a home bathroom that other parents would fear to let their children use.

nita said...

*nancy: bear took her on errands today and she peed all over him!!!!

piglet said...

this is a great post, i've been to airports in which the cleaning crew were all fired. it's sad. i used to travel a lot and for a germ-a-phobe it's not good. airports, hotels, strange cars and very strange bathrooms.

for some reason my son only has to use the bathroom at the most inconvenient times. the other day at target he wanted to go into the stall by himself. once he was done he sat his bare ass on the floor (i peeked through the crack in the door) and two years ago i would've lost it.

i did nothing. nothing. except make him wash his hands really good. i'm going downhill in my germophobe life.

Galaxy Girl said...

This made me laugh til the tears rolled. Thank you. I don't feel so alone in my 'phobia crazy anymore :)