Life works - at least in my experience - as a perpetually unfolding narrative. The ebbs and flows of life's stream go on whether you pay particular attention to them or not. You may stand alongside on the shore for a while, waiting for a particularly advantageous time to enter the stream but whether you are in the water or not, flow it must. And it does.
I have been matriculating to the building where my new work-home is located for three weeks now. I was spoiled by the fact that over the past decade, since my employer was the only occupant of the space I invaded daily in the wee small hours of the morning, I never needed keys once I exited my car. I had a swipe card to get into the building and one to get into my part of the space on the 3rd floor of the building. Once one stepped through the door and into the office, all of life's needs - well OK, all of a worker's daily needs could be met without exiting it.
Here, we occupy space on the 2nd floor of a five-story office building. As far as I can tell - doing my "Holy Crap there is no place to park!" analysis when I return from someplace during the middle of the day - most of the space here appears to be occupied. What our neighbors do I know not and - if possible - care even less. I arrive at the office before sun rises and leave after 5:00 p.m., while using the stairs as my preferred method of ingress to and egress from our little slice of heaven on Floor #2 so I see scant few other occupants of the building at any time during the day. And if you do not think that thrills me, then this is the first day you have ever stumbled upon this space isn't it?
There is a men's room on our floor but not within the four walls of our space, which means to use the bathroom one must exit our space and walk down the hall. Apparently theft of over sized toilet paper rolls is a problem so the men's room door requires a key to open. There is nothing quite as humiliating in an office environment as having to wrest the key to the bathroom off of someone else's desk. It has helped me reduce my coffee consumption. I got tired of the quizzical glances I got my first week here when I made a half-dozen trips to the bathroom during the day. Less coffee in, less coffee out apparently. Who knew?
Better than the journey to the men's room is the destination itself. There is more signage in the 2nd floor men's bathroom than I have ever seen in any bathroom - anywhere - in all of my life. There is the obligatory "No Smoking Area" sign, which is not only a legal necessity (smoking in public buildings in NJ is a no-no) but also is just smart, given the readily combustible mix of methane and butane. But that sign pales in comparison to two others, neither of which I had ever seen posted in a bathroom used by adults - of any species - prior to my arrival here.
The first is posted directly above the urinals and implores the user, "PLEASE FLUSH WHEN DONE", which seems to me to be the type of restroom etiquette that the male employees of the various offices here on Floor #2 should have learned at some time prior to acing the interview that landed each of us our current position.
It is the second sign, handwritten and taped to the inside of the middle stall that really is a head-scratcher, not because of its content but because of its necessity. It says, "PLEASE PUT USED TOILET PAPER IN THE TOILET AND NOT ON THE FLOOR!" The first time I saw it, I literally did a double-take. Because I am an inquisitive fellow I checked to see whether the stall on either side had a similar warning notice. Neither did. It started my little brain wondering. I started wondering things such as what breed of miscreant needs to be reminded not to place his used toilet paper anywhere other than the.....wait for it......toilet. I wondered as well how many violations it took to prompt creation of the note. Was it a one-time only transgression or a pattern of behavior? While the former would be wholly understandable I am willing to wager it was the latter - given both the ferocity of the note and the fact that it is a soloist and not merely the "just right" option here at the Three Bears Latrine.
When I am in the men's room during the day, I cast a suspicious eye at the other guys I see coming in and out of it - wondering if one of them was the idiot who succumbed to the part of his soul that is indeed part primate and started tossing his "business" all over the floor. I have compiled a preliminary list of suspects, which grows every day.
Did God make man in a breath of holy fire or did he crawl on up out of the muck and mire? Here on Floor #2 the question is very much open for debate.