Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Public Toilets & the Diseases You Can Catch

It is no secret that I detest public toilets.  They are nothing but Germ Incubators used by people with questionable personal hygiene.  I say this because you do not know what a stranger’s hand washing habits are like, whether they are wearing clean underwear and fresh socks or where their hands and butt cheeks have been.  Until proven otherwise it is always wise to assume the absolute worst and wipe every surface that is to touch your skin with antibacterial wipes.  Sure this might sound excessive to you but I promise after you have read what I am about to share, you will view Germ Incubators with the same disgust as I do.
I squirm at the thought of creepy germs that lurk on toilet seats, faucet handles and door handles in public toilets.  For this reason I spent as little time in them as possible.  And during those nerve-wracking moments when I am forced by my bodily functions to venture into one, I usually find myself opening the stall door with my elbow, crouching precariously above the toilet seat while avoiding touching anything and flush with it my shoe.  Sure this might sound a tad neurotic, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Research have found that the average public toilet could harbor E Coli and the Shigella bacteria, Hepatitis A, the common cold virus and various sexually transmitted organism like Crabs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.  To make matters worse, the average person touch their face between two to three thousand times a day and it is possible that you will touch your face in the toilet before you even get a chance to wash your hands, thereby contaminating your face with bacteria, viruses or STD organisms!  That’s right.  You can innocently stroll into the public loo to number two and leave with crabs or the bird flu or BOTH!
Just the other day at my office my bowels needed to move.  Normally my very personal bodily functions are on a strict routine and timed in such a way that I never have to sit on any foreign toilet seat.  But this day my timing was off.  Whether it was due to the Chinese food I had the night before or whether the universe decided my life was too boring and needed some spicing up, I do not know.  Being the public toilet phobe that I am, I ignored it.  You see I function better under pressure and if it wasn’t “I am about to shit my pants” time, I saw no need to expose myself Cholera or the Ebola virus.

An hour passed.  Then it happened and my body gave me the signal that it was time.  So I made my way to our floor’s men’s room.  It should be noted that my department share our floor with the IT department and they have some very nasty fast food eating habits and their eating habits translates into a lot of bad smells and confused and angry stomachs.  In light of this, combined with my Germ and Bubonic Plague Phobia, I approached the restroom hesitantly and with utter dread.
After opening the door with my elbow I was horrified to find that I was not the only one in there.  The stall next to the one I was about to use was occupied.  Another thing you should know about me is that I can’t pee if someone is watching me and I can’t poop if I am not alone.  But my body didn’t care, I needed to expel some waste and I needed to do it now.  After wiping the toilet seat down with antibacterial wipes I sat down and tried as best I could to go quietly.

Half way through my bowel movement I heard the person next to me finishing up.  He opened his stall’s door, flushed the toilet and left without washing his hands.  He just had a shit, wiped his ass and didn’t wash his hands!  While breathing in his feces air particles that were released when he flushed his toilet, I sat there hyperventilating and freaking the fuck out!

“It’s 11:30am and there is a person on my floor touching stuff, touching stuff I touch with feces on his hands!  I am going to have his feces on my hands!  Motherfucker!” I thought with utter dismay.  Who does that?  Who goes to the toilet, takes a dump and then leaves without even washing their hands?  Are people who do things like this raised by fucking homeless people?  If a person does this at work, what the hell goes on in their homes?  The more I thought about it the more disturbed I got.  Till this day I still don’t know who it was but I do have my suspicions.  But this is not the worst of it.
Not washing your hands is one thing but shedding your pubic hair is a whole different story.  You see not only do we have a non-hand-washer and feces spreader to deal with at our office, we also have a guy who sheds his ball hair.  I have found pubes on the toilet seat, the urinal and the basin.  It evokes a similar reaction in me as that time I found dry cum stains on a certain hotel room’s wall.  It’s disgusting.  It should not be there.  It makes me feel violated.  It is just plain wrong.

What if this jungle bush pube shedder catches the crabs or the syphilis?  Are we going to get it to?  Does he even know he is shedding worse than my five cats combined?  Going to the restroom and finding his pubes is upsetting and always serve as just another reminder that I am sharing that space with other people.  People who I don’t always know.  People with questionable personal hygiene.  The same as with the feces hands guy, I do not know who pubes guys is, but with him I too have my suspicions.
Going into a public toilet is like playing Russian roulette at the CDC’s most secure virus vault.  Every time you go in there you run the risk of contaminating yourself with other people’s germ, catching a super virus or helping a new virus mutate.  The worst must be restrooms at airports especially in Muslim countries.  I remember my experience at Cairo’s International Airport vividly.  The floor was wet, stuff was floating around my feet and it smelled like shit.  That’s exactly why I now won’t eat anything strange or spicy before a long trip and why contracting food poisoning by eating crab cakes from a buffet before an international flight never ends well.

Yes, public toilets are perilous places with a gauntlet of viruses, bacteria and fatal diseases you must successfully navigate and avoid.  Sure, public toilets are needed and we sometimes have no choice but to use them but when we do we must try and be safe.  Remember just because you have excellent personal hygiene doesn’t mean the gazillion other people who have been there before you do too.  There are some pretty disgusting people out there and chances are they used the loo before you.

Till next time.

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