Tuesday, September 22, 2009

because you learned this when you were a toddler...

how to walk.
how to use utensils when you eat.
how to dress yourself.
how to drink out of a cup.

life is not very complicated as a toddler. it is not rocket science, these simple life skills that are learned at an early age. but as evidenced recently, some people need a little refresher course on one particular developmental milestone. and this is probably something that is repeatedly drilled into a toddler/young child's head: wash your hands with soap after you go potty!!!

seriously, you don't see adults crawling around, shoveling food into their face with their hands, and drinking out of a sippy cup. so for the love of mike (or bob. or jim.), please tell me why are there grown people that act like babies when it comes to common bathroom etiquette?!?

*image property of washinghands.net*

yesterday at one of my frequently visited one-stop-shopping-centers, samantha needed to use the restroom so i accompanied her and waited patiently outside the stall. i thoughtlessly sized up the bathroom situation while waiting for samantha: two other stalls were occupied. samantha exited her stall. and even though she would know to do this in her sleep, i reminded her to wash her hands.

a toiled flushed and a woman around 65-70 years old vacated her stall, walked over to the automatic sink, placed her fingertips under the water for half of a second, glanced around for the towels, then proceeded to ask me where they were.

now i have respect for my elders, so naturally i did not say what was going through my head. but come on, what would her mom have said if she was there?! i'm sure she was taught to wash her hands, right? and you'd think older people would wash their hands to avoid getting sick, right? right?!

i will have to admit that thankfully the woman was thoughtful enough to portray that she was actually washing her hands. because i can't tell you how many times i've been in a public restroom and people have flushed the toilet, walked out of the stall, and exited the bathroom without even a glance toward the sink. really people?! i don't care what your bathroom routine is at home, but please have the courtesy and take 10 seconds to wash your hands as if it's an everyday habit.

even if i go into the bathroom stall with samantha and don't actually use the toilet or touch anything, i will still wash my hands upon departure. because in all reality, i don't want to be the guest subject of any bathroom etiquette blog post!

and while we're on the subject, i have another bathroom story from our vacation this summer. our whole family went camping together, and one of the best parts about camping is the little gas station nearby that sells ice cream cones. it's a daily (if not bi-daily) occurrence for us to venture down to the gas station for some ice cream, or tea cream, as it's more commonly known in our family.

this gas station also has a washing machine and dryer, so one day i went there to do a load of stinky, skanky, smoke-ridden clothes. after getting quarters from the lone employee sitting behind the counter, i decided i'd do my hair and make up in the bathroom right down the hall in order to pass the time. just as my beautification process was about done, said employee entered the restroom, went in the stall, quickly emptied her bladder, flushed the toilet, exited the stall, and walked right out the door.

i'm sure shock was written all over my face as i couldn't believe that happened. sure, i know she didn't want to leave the store unattended for a long time, but what could've happened in the 20 seconds it would've taken her to wash her hands?! i just don't get how people can do that with witnesses present... thinking it couldn't get any worse, about 30 minutes later i went to pay for some firewood and there she was, scooping up ice cream for some poor unsuspecting family... i went back to the campsite and told the story to my equally shocked family. we didn't get ice cream from her that day...

so... have you ever experienced this kind of bathroom behavior? do you wash your hands?! do you have an interesting public restroom misconduct story? do tell! although, if you don't wash your hands, please keep that to yourself. otherwise i just might blog about you!


Heather said...

hello, my name is heather. i'm a freaky, frequent handwasher. (especially while teaching preschool and dealing with runny noses galore!)

Heather said...

and yes, i just about gagged while reliving the whole camping i.c. trauma! no ice cream for a day because some dumb lady didn't wash her hands. tragic!

Keri McGinnis said...

Oh, I can so relate to you Erin! Funny thing is, I've heard many times, if you rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds under hot water it's the same as using soap and water. I tend to DISAGREE!

Christie said...

how do you not wash your hands after going to the bathroom? *Especially* in a public place? ewww

stb said...

I get SOOO grossed out when people don't wash their hands. My almost 3-yr old daughter is now in the "it's not fun anymore so I'm going to try to get away without washing after going potty" stage and we have huge battles about it!

Amy said...

Too funny....but also a little alarming! =) My husband is one of those non-hand-washers....which seems even grosser to me given that he is a male....
I refuse to let him hold our child before he washes his hands. period.
he thinks i am nuts, but i could care less...gross!

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Gross! I wash my hands every time - even in the middle of the night!

Anna said...

This drives me crazy as well! It always freaks me out when people walk out without washing their hands. Don't they feel gross afterwards? And I'm like you, I'll wash my hands when I leave even if I just walk into a stall to adjust my clothes or something. Now I'm sure other people's non-hand washing will bother me even more now that I have a baby. Another thing that bothers me is when I go to someone's house and they don't have hand soap in the bathroom or the dispenser is empty. I like to assume the person before me used the last little bit, but sometimes I know that's not the case. Yuck!