Friday, February 13, 2009

Ten minutes in the Meijer bathroom

Earlier this week Annie, Olivia, and I were shopping at Meijer. Before we finished shopping Olivia had a "blowout." For those of you who are not familiar with babies, we use that term to refer to baby crap breaching the diaper. Ick.

I picked Olivia up out of her carseat and cruised over to the bathroom while Annie finished getting groceries. I ended up having to change Olivia's whole outfit so I was in the bathroom for probably 10 minutes.

The changing station was located on the wall opposite the sinks, and to the left was the door, to the right were the stalls. As I lay Olivia down a Mom and her 11-year-old daughter had just finished drying their hands and headed toward the door. "Don't touch the door!" the Mom scolded the girl. "Here, kick it open with your foot. You don't want to get germs."

I smiled to myself. Go back in time about 20 years and that would have been my own Mom telling me not to touch the door for fear of germs.

And that, my friends, was the BEST part of my stay in the bathroom. From there, it very quickly went downhill.

The next woman who came in saw Olivia and said, "Aw! A baby!" as she walked to an open stall. "Newborn, huh?"

"Four months old!" I told her pleasantly.

"Oh," she said curtly, as if she thought I was correcting her and was offended. I think she was actually touched in the head. But that is no excuse for what she did next.

She used the bathroom, exited the stall, and walked right out the door, scorning the sinks! And she put the big ole crazy-lady-pissed-on hand of hers on the door and shoved it open.

I had to focus really hard on Olivia in order to keep my composure. That mom wasn't kidding about germs!!

Then a grandmother-type lady came in with a 4-year-old who said, "Look, a baby!" as she walked by Olivia. They went into the stall for about two minutes. The woman said to the little girl, "Hey, you little tricker!" and they exited the stall. They did not flush. It was possible that she didn't go to the bathroom. Then they came up to Olivia on the table and the little girl got all excited about the baby. Then they walked out the door, again scorning those beautiful glistening porcelain sinks. Those lonely sinks.

I turned my attentions back to Olivia in time to see her pudgy little baby hand waiving happily in the air, and I watched in horror as it found its way to the wall of the changing station and felt it up. Agh!!!!! I could just SEE the germs crawling en masse from the wall to her hand and down her arm and into her baby mouth. The germs were going to eat my baby! You don't know how hard it was for me to keep my cool at this point. I always imagined that while there were germs in public bathrooms, that the good ole Dutch Christian women of West Michigan were exceptions to the rule and that germs weren't that plentiful around here. Especially not in the CASCADE Meijer, which is located in the land of "new money."

Okay, so I was about ready to puke. I could NOT believe it. So I kept track. Eight females entered a bathroom stall, and only 3.5 washed. I say .5 because there were two who I am pretty sure did not wash, but I couldn't say for sure. One was a woman who I saw at the sink, but who was combing her hair and not washing her hands. It's possible that she washed them extremely quickly before picking up the comb, but after she left I scrutinized her sink and there wasn't much evidence to exonerate her. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt because she did approach Olivia after combing her hair and said, "What a beautiful baby!" and then, looking at Olivia, said, "The world made rosy cheeks just for you!"

Could a dirty bird really be that sweet about MY bird? I'm not sure.

All in all it was a horrific experience. Know what the worst part was? Look back at the story, clever readers. Do you notice any pattern?

How about the fact that the people who gave attention to Olivia were the ones who didn't wash their hands!!!

Now every time a stranger approaches Olivia I wonder, "Are you a dirt bag? How many bars of soap to you purchase annually?"


Shoppers, beware. Don't use those bathrooms unless it's an EMERGENCY.


Tommy said...

I think Steven Spielberg should make a horror film about this. Have him focus on things like not washing your hands, touching things in public places, etc. And have it parallel a zombie plague thriller. So long as he could put some sort of special effects in to show the vehement spread of bacteria and viruses by people who don't wash their hands and how it turns them into dirty plague spreading zombies. They'll try to blame it on mosquitoes or avian bird flu but the truth will soon be apparent.

And the end of the movie will have the last remaining germaphobes on earth in the secret Lysol stronghold. Armed with antibacterial turrets and soap grenades. Yeah!

dave and sarah o said...

when will you write a book :) i laughed and sighed :) people are nasty not to wash there hands. dirty doors too. yuck!

Jess Fick said...

I abhor Meijer bathrooms. I once had urgently use one and I think there was a creepy lady who had peed on the floor and then was hanging around in the bathroom to disgustedly point out that "someone had peed on the floor!" sick.

The Contemplative Mama said...

Eric has always told me that lots of men don't wash their hands before exiting the bathroom, but hearing that this many women don't either....eeeeeuwwwww gross!!! What are people thinking?!! Even me, the OCD treater, tells people that washing your hands after using the bathroom is a GOOD thing!

Melissa said...

I knew it! I'm making Derek read this one so he'll quit making fun of me for kicking open doors with my feet, and not wanting to touch public things, etc. I keep my own pen at work, and mark it with a sticker. If a patient touches it, it is contaminated, and goes to the other side of the desk...their side.