Monday, August 30, 2010

Too warm. Too intimate.

It’s happened to all of us. You sit down to start your business and find the seat is still warm from the previous occupant. (And not the good kind of warm.)

Sure, it’s a little creepy, but you deal.

But I had an incident recently that made me realize that a little bit of knowledge changes the whole equation.

I was heading into the men’s room and approached the stalls. As I did, a colleague exited the penthouse stall and said hello. I exchanged pleasantries and then had to make a quick decision which stall to enter.

Normally, with three opens stalls, it’s a no-brainer: I go for the penthouse. But in that split second, I thought, “I don’t really want to sit in his warmth. Too intimate.”

And so, I made an immediate left turn and ducked into the Peter-Brady stall.

Apparently, ignorance is an important quality in sharing a bathroom with co-workers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Out of order

The Peter Brady stall on three is out of order, as you can see from the lovely sign posted by a concerned co-worker. (From the looks of it, a copywriter...or the world's worst art director.)

THIS is the kind of fellowship we must applaud! Yes, the sign-maker is likely the culprit who "out of ordered" the stall. But he WAS kind enough to alert you before you stepped inside.

What makes this even more special is that, unless he's one of those I-can't-poop-without-my-red-and-black-pens-and-scotch-tape type of guy, he had to exit the men's room, make his sign and then return to the scene of the crime to post it. THAT'S the kind of concern for one's fellow man that is short supply these days.

And so, we applaud you, sign maker! Yes, your unnatural turd seems to have broken the toilet, but you have made up for it with your friendly gesture.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Abandoned toothbrush

I can think of few places LESS sanitary to leave your toothbrush than 720 California's third floor men's room. (On its best days, third floor men's room smells like a urine-soaked foot. And that's immediately AFTER it's been cleaned.)

So imagine my surprise when I found a toothbrush sitting on the sink this morning. Ironically, a paper towel was placed underneath as if to protect it from the germs on the counter.

But the owner of the toothbrush was nowhere to be found. All three stalls were empty. It has been abandoned.

I just checked. It's one hour later and the toothbrush is still there. Actually, that gives me hope, because it means that there's at least a chance that the owner will NOT reclaim it and stick it in his mouth.

We've asked the question before whether or not it's even safe to brush your teeth in this environment. But I think we can all agree that it's NOT safe to store your toothbrush here. Nothing that has been exposed to the elements in a public restroom for an extended period of time should ever be put in your mouth.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Potty talk goes mainstream

The blog used to be THE forum for discussing bathroom issues at 720 California. But readers have grown frustrated. Try as we might, we have been unable to truly influence a change in potty behavior.

One employee recently took maters into his own hands and sent the following email to the entire agency:

To the 3rd Floor non-flusher(s):

You know, it’s everyday now. Can’t use that last stall because you didn’t flush. That one is not equipped with a motion sensor, so please don’t just walk away.

Just a reminder, whoever you are, the handle on that stall is neatly positioned so that you can just kick it with your foot. No touching! Very good.

Please do all of us the favor.


You have to admire his pluck, but he must know that he is shouting in the wind. The third floor penthouse stall has long been the building's most popular location to commit a terrible crime. (After all, the third floor may house the most unhealthy bunch of people ever assembled.)

Even if the culprit is not a third floor resident, the cry for help is still likely to fall on deaf ears. After all, the community of poopers responsible for this, this and this is certainly not going to be swayed by a simple email.

Friday, June 25, 2010

False alarm?

So there I am, sitting in the penthouse stall. (Yes, I’m aware that a large number of postings start this way. There’s no shame in regularity.)

The Peter Brady stall was occupied by a fellow traveler, also in mid-business.

The door to the restroom opened, a new contestant entered and headed for the stall of last resort. He locked the door and sat. Less than a minute later, he rose, did not flush, exited the stall, breezed past the sinks and exited the restroom.

Of course, I was curious. I finished my transaction, flushed properly and went to inspect.

As I suspected...nothing. The bowl was clear. He wasn’t really in there long enough and there was a complete lack of audio evidence.

But it means that a co-worker just popped into a stall for a minute without a colon-ary reason. Was it a false alarm? Or did he just need a “Calgon, take me away!” privacy moment to get away from it all?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whatcha doin' in there, bud?

A regular reader sent this photo to potty blogger with the following subject line: "3rd floor men's room. DE-LUX stall, 2:35 p.m. today"

And the message that accompanied the photo: "Victoria's Secret. She's hiding in the toilet seat cover box."

Thanks to the mobile phone force for bringing this to our attention. (We're so grateful for the tip, we'll refrain from asking if it would have killed him to flip off the douchey hipstamatic effect on his phone so we could actually make out the image.)

There's something disturbing (and wonderful) about a co-worker taking what is, essentially, soft-core pornography into the stall with him. Leaving it for the next patron kicks it up a notch. Placing it in the toilet seat cover box takes it to 11.

Thank you, generous sicko. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is not a gift

Men, let's review what I like to call "the spectrum of generosity."

At one of the spectrum--leaving a magazine in the stall (a respectful distance from the bowl, of course.) This can be a delightful surprise for the next visitor.

At the other end of the spectrum--leaving any sort of human remnant in the bowl. This is never a delightful surprise for the next visitor.

Also toward the "unwanted" end of the spectrum--a warm, used toilet seat cover. (See above photo.) Yes, the bowl was clear and I thank you for that. But if you were conscientious enough to discard your human waste with a flush, would it have killed you to make sure that seat cover also made the trip?

Instead, upon entering the penthouse stall, I was treated to a perfectly preserved relief of your ass cheeks. And, since your initial flush had ripped of the seat cover's paper (also known as "the dangly") there was no anchor to pull the object down with an additional flush.

My only option was to use my hands to dislodge your leftover--an option I soundly rejected and moved on to another stall.

Remember, men. Flush...look...if not ALL clear, flush again. Repeat as necessary.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The workaholic

We all work pretty hard here at 720 California. And space is at a premium. (When you have 500 people doing the work of 700 in a building meant for 300, that’s just the way it is.)

But some rules of polite society must be maintained.

Recently, a co-worker approached me and said, “I have a photo and a story.”

Honestly, nine times out of ten when somebody says, “I have a photo for the potty blog,” it’s usually so unspeakable, that I can barely process what I’m seeing. (The evidence traditionally breaks down into three categories: horrific splatter patterns, hard-to-fathom anacondas or odd shapes.)

But the co-worker’s story wasn’t about some unusual fecal topiary, it was about a head-scratching experience that he’d had in fourth floor men’s room.

The co-worker (hereafter “our hero”) was conducting his business in the stall of last resort. He noticed a strange glow emanating from the stall next to him (the Peter Brady stall.) Then he heard the clackity-clack of fingers on keys and the “WHOOSH!” of an email being sent.

Now I realize we’re all super important people around here. But is anything really so urgent that you need to take your laptop with you into the bathroom stall? That email really couldn’t have waited five minutes? (Probably only 2 minutes if it was the day that the Indian food truck stopped by for lunch.)

Our hero sprung into action, pulled out is iPhone and snapped the above picture--evidence of our workaholic.

We know your shoes, friend. We are coming for you to do an intervention. You and those that conduct business around you (and yes, despite what the “turd burglar” contingent says, it is OK to go next to a co-worker) need some peace and quiet while you’re conducting your transaction. It’s better for everyone. Trust me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

So much promise. So much hope.

It's a new week. Monday, 8:45 a.m.

I walk into the penthouse stall and what do I see? Two fresh rolls of toilet paper.


It's a small sign, but one that gives so much hope. It makes you feel like anything is possible. Like I have all the tools I need to do great work. To make a difference. To drop a Monday morning monster.

Yes, by 10:30, it will probably all go to hell. And with today being the day after Bay to Breakers, there's sure to be some...interesting contributions today. (Not so much because of too much Sunday liquor--that's par for the course for the men of 720 California. It's the exercise of running/walking/stumbling through a 12K that I fear will wreak havoc on the bowels of my co-workers.)

But right now, the world is our oyster. Let's try and make it great, shall we, men?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Second floor men's room, you make me sad.

A year ago, you could ask anybody at 720 California, "What is the best men's room in the building?" and everybody would give the same response:

Second floor.

But there were signs that all was not well in paradise.

And last July, we went so far as to say, "The king is dead."

Now, as further evidence of how the mighty has fallen, desperate patrons of the second floor have taken to posting signs above the urinals.

Take a look at what is currently affixed atop the big boy urinal on two:

The sign maker employs a photo of an adorable young scallywag to ask visitors to "pay it forward" and beg them to "flush after you piss." There's even a helpful arrow pointing to the button on the auto-flusher.

I'll repeat that last bit--the button on the auto-flusher.

The auto-flush urinals was one of the reasons that you WENT to second floor in the first place! So that you didn't have to use your hands! The "auto" in "auto-flush" is SUPPOSED to mean "automatic" which implies that no manual effort is required.

It's sad to see a former champion beg.

Have some dignity, second floor. You used to be great.

Back in the saddle. Literally.

I have returned.

Despite my request to potty blog full time, my employer does require me to do actual work from time to time. My travels have kept me away from 720 California for a few weeks, but I'm happy to be back.

Not that anything ever really changes in 4th Floor Men's Room. As if to prove that point, a regular reader recently sent me this bit of art that was taped to the wall of the penthouse stall:

Certainly, this drawing captures a mystery that has plagued many a 4th Floor visitor--where exactly is this guy's exit? And how exactly does Picasso paint on the underside of THE SEAT?

But this found drawing isn't from last week. IT'S FROM TWO YEARS AGO. Clearly, our mystery blaster has a long and distinguished tenure here at 720 California.

Or could there be more than one? Does he teach classes? Is there some sort of secret brotherhood?

Anyway, it's good to know that no matter how long one is away, some things stay the same.

It's good to be home.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pretty in pink

What's up with the frou-frou new urinal cakes?

Seems like they'd be better suited for the urinals in the ladies room, don't you think?

It's actually a bit distracting to go on something so beautiful. It's like peeing on the sunset. It doesn't feel right.

Can we just go back to good old-fashioned, manly BLUE cake?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a turd burglar

This week, a co-worker accused potty blogger of being a turd burglar.

There are many definitions, but my accuser’s claim was that on Monday of this week, I entered the third floor men’s room, saw that the penthouse stall was occupied and then slipped into the stall of last resort to conduct my business.

That’s right. My crime: making a transaction while a co-worker was in the middle of one himself.

Let’s be clear, I did not try to use the same stall as my co-worker. I did not barge in and say, “I must make my deposit in here, right now. Please stand aside.” No, I used a separate stall all together--and even left the Peter Brady stall vacant as a buffer between us.

But my accuser is part of a small (but vocal) minority that believes if you see a co-worker using ANY of the stalls, you should politely excuse yourself and travel to another floor. They believe that the very act of sitting down while another gentlemen is mid-business, robs the first gentleman of the ability to perform. Thus “the turd” has been “burgled.”

This belief is akin to those remote tribesmen who believe that having their picture taken results in the loss of their soul--it is, of course, ridiculous, but different cultures must be respected.

However, respect is one thing and tyranny is quite another. When a small group begins to lob charges of turd burgling willy-nilly, it smacks of McCarthyism. The mere act of accusing someone of stealing your ability to BM creates an atmosphere of fear and distrust.

My grandfather fought in WWII. My father served in the National Guard. in a very challenging professional environment and sometimes have to be in front of my computer for several hours. My people have EARNED the right to make a number two when they want, where they want.

You do not need to fear me. I do not want to steal your turd. Poop in peace, my friend. We are brothers and we both want the same thing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Actually, I’d rather not have one of your BMs on my coffee table

Most of you, dear readers, are good people. Decent. Hard working. Respectable. (Well...decent and hardworking, anyway.)

But some of you are freaks.

I know this because some of you send me all sorts of horrible filth. Yes, I do appreciate a good tip about a crime scene here at 720 California. No, I don’t need you to send me an iPhone snap of the two-footer you dropped in the Mission this weekend.

What is interesting is that you really can’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to this stuff.

Just this week, one of the sweetest, loveliest, young-lady co-workers here at 720 California shocked me by suggesting--out of the blue and with no context, “You should do a coffee table book of toilet bowl shots. Weird shapes. Gruesome splatter patterns. But arty, you know?”


Is there really a demand for such a coffee table book, dear readers? Can you really see that one in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble? And who, exactly, is the intended recipient of that gift? “Hey grandma, you’re super hard to shop for, but I think you’re going to love my Christmas present this year.”

I'm sure granny will love it. Because it’s arty, you know?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Big Mac'n

Yesterday, I came across something pretty disturbing.

Somebody Big Mac'd in the penthouse stall on third floor and did not remove the burger.

(For those of you who may be less familiar with potty parlance, a "Big Mac" is when you make some number two, stand, wipe, drop the TP into the bowl and then realize that you're not quite finished, so you go in for a second session--creating another "patty" on top of the toilet paper "bun," as it were.)

Men, there's no shame in creating a double-stacker. But it's not something you need to share with others.

We've been over this many times, but apparently, it bears repeating: Stand. Flush. Check the bowl. If it is not COMPLETELY CLEAR, flush again. Repeat as necessary.

New janitor

I know it's confusing, bud. But the nubbin does not go down in the hole. It's blue side up.

Gents, please don't try to flip it over right-side up with your stream. Let's leave this job to the professionals.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Executive multitasking

Walked into fourth floor men's room yesterday afternoon and found the Big Boss at the big boy urinal.

He had one hand on the wheel and was holding a piece of paper in the other hand, which he was reading.

That's why his name is on the building, folks.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Found your pen

A regular reader sent this photo with the following note:

"This pen has been on this urinal in the 4th floor men's room for the past 3 days. Why hasn't it been claimed? Why was it left there in the first place? Who the hell knows."

Many good questions, dear reader. Perhaps a co-worker has left it there to marinate for a few days and will return to claim it. (Note to self: don't absentmindedly chew on pens found in co-worker's offices.)

But in the meantime...bonus points to the person who can knock it into the urinal using only their stream!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A seated vacation

Yes, it sucks to be at the office on a holiday.

But a fellow pooper has made the party more pleasant by leaving his copy of Travel & Leisure next to the toilet in the penthouse stall. And he even left it a respectable distance from the crapper* to make sure that it wasn't tainted by backsplash or dribbles.

No, I didn't pick it up. I have too much self-respect for that. But the picture on the cover was nice and reminded me that somewhere, someone is sitting on a beach, enjoying a nice frosty alcoholic beverage.

* I originally typed the word "commode" here, which I believed to be a synonym for "toilet." However, the interweb just schooled me that a commode is, more accurately, a piece of awesome bathroom furniture. And with that, my 2010 Christmas list just got a new number one.

Monday, February 1, 2010

...and a side of asbestos, please.

As if there weren’t already plenty that makes third floor men’s room the worst men’s room in the building, it appears that a heretofore unnoticed air vent is belching asbestos into the far right sink.

It’s a powdery gray material. I’d almost be willing to guess that it’s dryer lint--but I can’t believe that the dryer in the basement vents out over the third floor men’s room sink. Although, that might explain the rain forest-like climate in there.

Just what we all wanted in a quality bathroom experience--cancer falling from the sky.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wall of smell

Some 720 California men's room experiences are so searingly painful that it takes several days to find the words to describe them.

Last Friday was a bad day for the third floor men's room.

Smell is about context. Your brain can handle a horrible odor if it can make sense of it. For example, if you enter a morgue, your brain is ready for the stench of rotting corpse.

But when you walk into a men's restroom, your brain doesn't know what to do with a tangy, smoky barbecue smell. And then you realize--nobody is cooking ribs in this location, rather, somebody's colon is profoundly broken. It is not a smell that can be produced by the physically fit.

It was so bad, I actually had my first synesthesia experience (where one experiences smell as a color or image.) This is what I saw.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Call and response

Yesterday, I was luxuriating in the penthouse stall when I heard something that raises an interesting etiquette question.

I heard a gentleman enter the men’s room, approach the urinal and begin his business. Another man entered, took a position at the second urinal, and began his work.

Then, one of the contestants, released a little toot.

It was quickly followed by the second man who contributed his own toot. (True, I was several feet away, locked in the stall, and can’t be 100 percent sure it was from the other musician, but the timbre was sufficiently distinct to indicate a different instrument.)

Then, the first man threw down a new bass line, with a more complicated melody. There was a beat...and the second man made a best effort to mimic that one as well!

A regular case of dueling banjos! (If by “banjos” I mean “my co-worker’s anuses.”)

This musical dance was conducted without conversation or commentary--a wordless fart ballet, if you will.

And so it begs the question: what is the proper response when a co-worker at the urinal next to you lets a small one go? I think these two guys have shown us the most elegant way of dealing with the situation--join the fun.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reading lights?

I realize that my last call for bathroom improvements fell on deaf ears (I still believe that bidets would do more to improve productivity around here than any other measure) but I have a new thought.

Reading lights. Above the toilets.

In fourth floor men's room (and restrooms throughout the building) the row of recessed lighting is above the far wall, away from the porcelain perches. It makes it extremely hard to read while conducting your business.

And while leaving reading material for the next guest continues to be standard operating procedure (see photo above) what good is such courtesy if you can't see the words?

I doubt that facilities will install a new row of recessed lighting into the ceiling, but perhaps we could work on installing a few of these babies--how sweet would it be to have an adjustable arm on the light source next to the toilet? Or maybe we go LUXURY and get one of those lamp/magnifying glass combo thingies.

Perhaps then the gentleman who left the newspaper (see photo above) could use the magnifying glass to check the bowl and discover, "Oh, gee, I forgot to flush and there is a wad of toilet paper and man filth still sitting there in the bowl."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Taco truck + 3-day weekend = bathroom armageddon

Perhaps management should schedule the taco truck visits on a Monday rather than the Friday before a three-day weekend?

The smell-ometer has recorded a new "stank parts per million" reading and it seems that somebody left something to marinate for the full 72 hours.

I too have a dream...that you people learn how to flush.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy New Year

Yes, friends, potty blogger is back in action.

Apologies for the long hiatus. I realize that I have not posted since November, but I was traveling and it could not be avoided. And no, I was not (as some readers suggested) fired because I spent more time writing about the crapper than actually working.

We all know what a great relief it is to take some time away from the office during the holidays, but can you imagine how glad 720 California toilets were for the break? If you spent the entire year having people sit on your face and do unspeakable things, you too would cherish that week between Christmas and New Years.

And so, this week must have come as a bit of a shock for the porcelain of fourth floor men’s room. A stampede of men whose digestive systems are still in holiday mode--back to work!

Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy year of bathroom business. Let’s be kind to one another in 2010, shall we?