Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bathroom Etiquette, 3

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a restroom is occupied. Sometimes it's not. When it's evident that the stall is occupied, let it go; not your bladder but the door handle.

My friend and I were talking about my bathroom experience (discussed in "bathroom etiquette 1"), which segwayed into a discussion of one of his personal pet peeves.

"I hate it when you're in the single-stall bathroom and a person pushes on the door, which is clearly locked, and then when they can't open the door they knock."

I personally never knock on a bathroom door, unless I happen to be at a crazy drunken orgy of a party and I don't know what to expect in any room, so I end up closing my eyes and walking into the room backwards. There are ways around knocking that don't disturb the user in a way that might stunt progress. I for one hate it when someone knocks on the bathroom door. I never know what to do. I don't want to yell because I feel weird. I don't really know what I'm supposed to say. If you say, "Just a minute!" it comes off pushy, and for some reason I feel like the person knocking always assumes that you're pooping. If you say "I'm going to the bathroom," it just seems redundant. They should've realized that you were using the bathroom when they noticed that the door was locked. The additional knock post locked-door push is just superfluous. If you don't say anything in response to the knock, then they try the door again. I feel like the chances of a bathroom being locked and vacant are slim enough that knocks should not be necessary. Be patient, wait your turn, and don't rush others because you most likely wouldn't like to be rushed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bathroom Etiquette, 2

On an average day, by 11am I have voluntarily provided myself with more laxatives than a 73 year-old, cardholder of AARP intakes in a week. Today was no different. I trekked 20 minutes through half a foot of snow to get to school. I gnawed on my fibrous energy bar before class. I guzzled 2 big glasses of tea. I snacked on a crispy apple. Then it hit. I walked through the stacks of books and made my way to the second floor restroom of the library. I have this safety routine where, if I notice that one of the two stalls is spoken for, I turn right back around & sit at the desk that's nearby the bathroom door unassumingly reading up on tort reform, waiting for the partially occupied public restroom to be all mine. But this time, I didn't turn back around. I noticed that there was someone already in the handicapped stall, but for some reason I thought it was okay to take the risk. I stepped into the vacant stall in the 2-stall bathroom, and waited. I have taken the risk before and it has always seemed to pay off, but apparently fate decided it was time to put a wrench in my streak. I guess this is better than putting a streak in my underwear.

I sat and I sat. We both sat in silence. It was a stand off. My inference that the other individual was going to be in and out had proven false, but I refused to cave. She had her chance before I got there. So I waited. The rustle of the toilet paper roll echoed against the grey tiles. "Phew!" She was budging. I heard a whisper from the next stall, "Oh, there it is." Darn. She wasn't going anywhere. I crossed my fingers hoping that it wasn't this month's "Reader's Digest" that she had just found. I continued to sit, anticipating the chance to take a load off. I thought to myself, "Gosh, Maggie, quit being so stubborn. Just do it & go." Then, the toilet next door flushed and caught me off guard. A feeling of elation came over me, until I came to the realization that there was no post-flush clamor and the door didn't open. I slumped back down, only to be jolted by yet another flush next door, once again with no post-flush clamor. I had reached my boiling point. Since the gal on the other side of the separator wasn't going to buck up, I guess I had to. Who knows how long this was going to go on. I understood she was providing herself (and me) with courtesy flushes so that she could go without being heard, and I would have a chance to slip mine in under the muffle of the water pressure, but I just couldn't work under that pressure, so I got up and left. Luckily, the third floor bathroom of the library was awaiting my arrivals with open stalls.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bathroom Etiquette

(THIS POST IS PART ONE OF A THREE PART SERIES)

A week ago I went to a well known Mexican restaurant in town, where it is well known that I cannot think about the cheese drizzled on their enchiladas without experiencing some form of nausea or gag reflux. It was about negative 3 degrees outside, I was sitting on the inside of the booth with no easy access, and somewhere between the 80 chimichangas piled up each arm my waiter managed to keep my diet pop bottomless. When I was finally given access out of the booth, I had to go. I ran through the restaurant, banking corners, when I finally made it to the bathroom nook of the restaurant. From my angle of attack, I could only see one of the doors to the restrooms. I looked up and thought that I saw "MEN" in wooden blocks above the door frame, so I sharply turned the corner and approached a door where the door handle flashed a "vacant" sign. I quickly turned the nob, took one frantic step across the threshold, looked up and to my right to map out which direction I was headed, but instead of seeing a "vacant" bathroom I was promised I found an upright man to the right of the toilet with his face toward the wall. I stood there so shocked that I could've peed my pants and not know it. My initial thought was, "What is this man doing in the women's bathroom?" Since he had decided to occupy the women's restroom I would invconvenience all of the other men in response to the actions of one of their kind. I turned to enter the bathroom across the hall, which also promised to be "vacant", and was relieved to see that it was just going to be me in this uni-stall bathroom. As I sat there releasing enough diet coke to fill a 10-gallon hat, I looked around at where I was. It was then that I realized that I had walked into the men's restroom. I don't think this was entirely my fault. I think the biggest contributor to my bathroom blunder was the fact that the gender specificator was not at eye level, and the fact that I was coming from an angle made it easy for the "WO" to get cut out of sight. And I didn't see my friend in her ever-fashionable triangle skirt posted anywhere near the bathrooms. After justifying my actions through the erroneous notification schemes of Casa Brava restaurant, I was struck with another puzzle. Why on earth was there a man in a "vacant" bathroom? Not just a dude hanging out, but a dude doing his business. Was this some guy courtesty thing I didn't know about? Was this arrangement of one guy on the urinal, one guy on the toilet the equivalent to the ever-elusive napkin & tampon machine? Not only that, there was no divider between the stall and the urinal. They were side by side and alone with one another in a big one person bathroom. Scenarios started playing out in my mind. "What happens if one guy has to "sit down" on the toilet and the other one is standing at the urinal? Then what happens when the urinal guy is done? He can't lock the door behind him, so that leaves a pooper susceptible to a random walk-in." I was perplexed. This arrangement was working on a plane that I just couldn't comprehend. One where there was no thought out plan of execution. I felt like I discovered Tutankhamun's mummy, and now in writing this post I feel like I've leaked the story of Watergate to the press.

(Follow up: I've done some research and apparently this type of behavior is normal amongst older, middle aged men, but all of the males that I asked said that they would not have used the vacant toilet, albeit for either excretory purpose, and would always lock the door behind them so that the bathroom is "occupied".)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Blog

My colleague, and fellow blogger, Peter Giordano and I have decided to start a new blog focusing on electronic communication methods, and how to develop the right set of skills to accurately portray the message you are trying to convey. How many times have you been in a situation where you're trying to convey sarcasm over instant message and the result is a loss of friendship? Ever wonder how to write a professional email to your professor or boss concerning the fact that you will not be turning in a paper or report at the deadline they assigned, and make them be okay with that? Well, this is the blog for you. We will be discussing how to electronically convey communication on many different subjects, offer professional tips, and answer any questions you might have on a particular subject in our "Q & A" segments. Here is the link to the blog:

Interpersonal Electronic Communications Weekly


I hope you enjoy my newest project!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Name Dropping

Normally I don't like to name drop, or tell people that I know special people or I have done special things. For example, I don't tell people that I was in an L.S. Ayres commercial as a child where I had to sit in a pit of teddy bears and was directed to kiss one of the bears, to which I responded (at the ripe age of 5) that I wasn't that type of girl. I don't tell people that I was 10 feet away from Johnny Rotten at a bar while in London having my farewell drinks with my bosses & co-worker. I don't tell people that the 1980 Miss America, Cheryl Prewitt, proclaimed that I (again, at the ripe age of 5...must've been my best year in regards to looks) had "pageant legs." I don't tell people that I won an air guitar contest while in London, and walked away with an mp3 player and the disgarded sweat of random, drunken Brits wiped on me in the midst of a congratulatory & strangerly embrace. But, I will tell people this: my professor has been nominated as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel for President-Elect Obama.

Last semester I took a seminar on Separation of Powers law. The issue of separation of powers is one that has always fascinated me, as I am constantly amazed at the strength of checks and balances, and how much, without the average American's knowledge, such a procedural system impacts our everyday lives, especially when the system is abused. This system is the source of and catalyst for any issue where the government should be, or shouldn't be, concerned. The past 8 years has served as an example of what happens when an administration renders it unnecessary to follow constitutional protocol, and, as if that weren't dangerous enough, creates its own justification for its actions hidden in the guise of constitutional assignment and public duty. Astonishingly enough as it is, this administration has been able to trick many into subscribing to their contrived overhaul of government providing for a much stronger executive in exchange for their own place and powers within government, whether it be due to a voluntary snub of statutory responsibility or a result of the deadly combination of a dumb-downed lobbyist-driven Congress, a conservative court an incompetent media, and an apathetic electorate.

That being said, I am more than ecstatic to know that Dawn Johnsen has been chosen to be in charge of directing the president when it comes to the legality of executive action. In spending 2 hours a week, for 16 weeks, discussing the development of executive power over the history of our country, the involvement of the Supreme Court and Congress in regards to their stance on, and exercising of, checks and balances, and the current overbreadth of executive authority in our country, I can comfortably say that Professor Johnsen knows her stuff and she's not afraid to use it. Not in the despotic, comic book villain-esque manner, but more in the pragmatic, think outside the box in order to solve problems without violating the box and without harming civil liberties. In casually conversing with Johnsen, she's sweet, cordial, pleasant. But you can notice there's something else there. A passion for what she does. The ability to attack.

As I said, I have no doubt that Johnsen will be great, and the perfect legal reference for Obama. A sigh of relief after being perched on the ledge and tetering back and forth between injustice and legitimacy. I just wish I would've put forth a little more effort on my seminar paper now.

Here are some links to articles written about and by Dawn Johnsen:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/01/05/olc/index.html
http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/convictions/archive/2008/04/03/outrage-at-the-latest-olc-torture-memo.aspx

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Idiomagic

I was thrown for a loop yesterday. No, I didn't wake up on the wrong side of bed. I put my underwear on inside out.

It is impossible for me to get out on the wrong side of my bed. It's not even possible for me to get out of the wrong end. In fact, I've never gotten out of bed on the wrong side. I've always refused to use this colloquial metaphor as an excuse for a bad day because I never had a day when I rolled out of bed on the right side. I always exited my bed on the left when I had access to both sides. Once it became habit I made it a conscious effort to always roll to my left, never right. I don't know if it was because I subscribed to the legitimacy behind the phrase and was scared to consciously and voluntarily allow myself to be subjected to the catalyst for a no good, very bad day, or because it just made more sense logistically to roll out of bed on the left because it provided easiest access to an escape route in case of exploding bladder or alien attack.

Yesterday, I rolled out of the right side of bed. I made pancakes. I read for a couple of hours. I made a family out of holiday marshmallows. I took a shower. Normal Nermal. As I stood there doing the "hike up your tights" dance, I noticed the seams of my underwear...then the tag of my underwear, not visible because it had flipped outside of the elastic boundary but because I have neglected to notice that I incorrectly stepped into my briefs. I had already pulled my tights up passed the point of no return so I came to the decision that I would not regress, that I would push forward. I couldn't help but wonder, in determining that I would spend my day with my underwear inside out had I consciously predestined myself to a day of doom and gloom? And, if I spent the rest of the day out of sorts and with a chip on my shoulder, and I just created a new conversational piece that could be added to the canon of colloquial idioms?

My day continued to unfold, without any traumatic occurrences or the disclosure of any skeleton's in my closet that would alter my spirits. I drank a cup of tea. I thought about making some jello pudding. I checked my cites. I ate taco bell. I complained about stupid people on the internet who think they are gracing the rest of the world with witticisms beyond the comprehension of a layperson. I read some more. I went to bed. Nothing happened that would render the use of "putting one's underwear on inside out" as a idiomatic way of expressing some revolutionary experience within one's daily life.

Today I woke up, called my mom and then called my dad asking both of them to think of all of the expressions they know of that are similes with "getting out on the wrong side of bed." I rolled out of bed, on the right side. I took a shower. I got dressed. I put on my deodorant. I put on my sweater. I decided it was too soon to put on my sweater. I removed my sweater. I noticed that I had put my shirt on inside out. Are you kidding me? Two days in a row? I have a pretty good record of dressing correctly and according to cultural standards; nearly perfect when you subtract the one time that I decided that I would try to ape the stylish inclinations of Kriss Kross in hopes that I would obtain a higher class in the social ladder of 3rd grade popularity. I continued, deciding that perhaps there was a subconscious force motivating me to erroneously apply my attire. Maybe my mind was trying to tell me that my lifestyle in itself was one big idiom that could be defined by wearing clothes inside out. I plan to put this theory to test. If this continues, maybe there will be an entry in the 5th edition of the "Dictionary of American Idioms" for "wearing your clothes inside out" as a way to define living a ridiculous yet simulateously monotonous life.