Friday, October 26, 2007

Work Stinks

I have stories about bathrooms, airports, and today, another involving both. Seems I'm unable to leave the airport's facilities without wet hands and a new story.

It all started innocently enough. I got off the plane and found the nearest bathroom. Apparently there was some attraction inside that everyone wanted to see because the line wrapped around the corner. I decided to continue my search in the further terminals. Although I had a 3 hour layover, I didn't want to spend all of it in line. I found a ladies room and walked in. That's when I saw the desk and bathroom attendant.

"Oh. Hi."

I walked - stunned - to one of the furthest stalls. I'd heard of bathroom attendants but never actually seen one. Plus, I somehow convinced myself that attendants only work at golf courses or casinos where the low table starts at $10,000 ~ you know, places I frequent, oh, never. But here she was - in the bathroom at the airport - with peppermints and a tip jar.

A thousand thoughts went through my mind. Well, at least a dozen anyway: People really do this for a living? Why would you want this job? What if someone, you know, "fluffs" or something? What if she were going to a class reunion - what would she say? "Oh, I listen to people go all day and hand them a paper towel." Do I tip? Is it based on the softness of the toilet paper? It is soft. How much do I tip? Do I even have any cash? Does she hear lots of interesting cell phone conversations? Has anyone ever turned a stall into their personal reading lounge? What skills would she list on her resume? Do the really skilled attendants get promoted to busier spots? What...wait...really?!

I decided I would quickly head to the sink, wash, then leave. I would give a nice "Thankyou" nod as I left. I got some soap but before I had a chance to count to 20 - or sing my ABC's - there she was next to me, handing me a folded paper towel.

"Um. Thanks."

I realized I had one penny on me. I debated which would offend less: to give my one cent or nothing at all. I glanced - she didn't have a credit card machine and I'm sure she wouldn't take personal checks. I opted not to tip.

I felt lame. I would hate to be in her shoes ~ having to help people that hardly acknowledged my service, confined to an "office" with no windows, no Internet, no real chance to interact with people.

... and I thought my job stunk!


Michelle Johnson said...

Loved this post. I can't believe there is such a job. I wouldn't want it. Think of all the people who get sick and she has to hand them garbage cans or wet towels. Yuk!

On a lighter note, I liked your 3WW. I enjoyed my visit today. Keep up the good work.

Have a nice day.

ThomCarter said...

I am sad that you didn't get some cash, go back to powder you nose again and give a nice tip.

I'm Chrissy! said...

I want to travel with you. It wouldn't be boring!

Oh, and I'm sorry I didn't get to see you while you were in Paris. But the fam is sick.

bec said...

It sounds like a great way to make sure people wash their hands. I wonder what she does if they don't- if I had that job I would tell them to go back, it's for the good of society after all.

charlotta-love said...

Michelle: I was blown away. I've talked to a few friends about it though and they said it's not that unusual of a job. ???

Thom: Well, considering my bottle of water cost me $3 and my pack of gum $2, they already had enough of my money. I don't even want to talk about dinner prices!

Chrissy: actually, it IS boring. I make up random stories to make it interesting. :o)

Bec: LOL. I can just see you with your hands on your hips pointing to the sink, "Excuse me. You forgot to wash." She could totally do a report on which stalls get more traffic. :o)

Craze said...

I'm suddenly feeling very blessed to have my job.

Crazy! I can't believe the airport has a bathroom attendant. Probably something new since the whole Larry Craig scandal.

charlotta-love said...

Craze: I didn't even think about that... But bathroom attendants were around way before him.

Beth said...

I love those thousand/dozen thoughts that went through your mind while in the bathroom.
Your blog is well-named!

RED MOJO said...

Hey, Funny story, thank you for the laugh! This is my first time visiting your blog, but I will be back.
I came here because Craig D tagged you for a meme I'm involved in. I hope you can squeeze in time to play, and continue our lineage.

Patience said...

I aspire to be a potty attendant. I can stand around and hand people paper towels for $$$. Yeah, most people are quite capable of pulling paper towels out of the holder themselves, but if I'm standing there with the sole responsibility to make sure that don't have to do that mundane task, then surely they will thing I am worthy of a buck!

Bone said...

I first encountered this phenomenon in a one stall/one urinal bathroom in Memphis last year. (And of course, blogged about it.)

I don't like people being in there, especially in a restroom that small. I need a buffer.

Shankar said...

I was totally psyched-out by the washroom attendant at Harrod's. I felt quite inferior in his majestic presence.