It saddens me to say that. I’d like to exclude myself, but perhaps I cannot.
I’m appalled when I walk into a public men’s room and find, well, it’s just gross. Are women as bad? I’ve heard they might be, but I don’t spend a lot of time in lady’s rooms. I know other men will be using the same facilities after me, and I try really hard not to leave behind anything messy or disgusting. I feel that’s common courtesy, but I guess it not really that common. It makes me wonder what their homes are like, but I don’t really want to go there.
When I was just out of college, I shared a big house with 8 other guys, some of my best friends at the time. Those were good times. I managed the kitchen; everyone pitched in $10/week, and I cooked. We ate well. The rest took turns as cook’s assistant and clean-up. It worked quite well. We even had a dishwasher, except no one wanted to empty it out. Annoying but bearable… Not so bearable was that the several guys on my floor would never clean the bathroom. Never! One talked like a germ-a-phobe and would freak out if we drank from the same pop bottle, but a dirty bathroom? No big deal… Seriously! Pigs. I moved out.
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that life gets complicated for guys as they get older, things that most would prefer not to deal with, let alone discuss. Let’s face it; some guys just need to sit. Thinking it’s more macho to stand, when you can’t see to aim or worse, just doesn’t fly (if you’ll excuse the irony). A man who once could eat anything without a problem now, shall we say, has problems, but he should be decent enough not to share, if you know what I mean. I also have a harder time with the cleaning; my knees are shot and my back bothers me, but cleaning up after myself doesn’t take that long. I can do it. If you’re not paralyzed, confined to a wheel chair, or blind, so can you!
Have you ever walked out of a disgusting bathroom? I have. The problem is that now I don’t find it so easy to wait; my body just doesn’t cooperate. The choice isn’t just unpleasant; it’s unhealthy. I drive a taxi, so I have to use public restrooms, but I expect my home to be kept in a respectable condition whenever I need to use the facilities—first thing in the morning, in the middle of the night, or during a quick break in whatever I’m doing. I certainly don’t want to deal with someone else’s mess first!
I don’t like to clean the bathroom in general. Does anyone? Still, if no one cleans it, it gets gross, truly disgusting, and really quite unsanitary. Personally, I’ve never had servants. I had one roommate who actually didn’t mind cleaning, but it was his choice. Even then, I tried not to be a slob. Who wants to clean up after a pig…in the bathroom?! Nevertheless everyone should take a turn, unless someone clearly offers to do it or we pay someone. Regardless, everyone needs to keep shared spaces usable.
So where I must share, I try to make keeping things clean as easy as possible. I buy a bottle of spray cleaner for each bathroom and leave it right there by the toilet. I have a plunger for each, and I have a bowl cleaning brush. For myself, I take care of any “accidents” right away. No one should have to deal with someone else’s mess. If someone comes to visit, I want them to find a fairly clean bathroom to use. I try to make sure to keep extra TP handy for the inconsiderate boob who will finish a roll and neither replace it nor even mention it.
So, whether it’s an office, a factory—One place where I worked was so bad, I’d wait all day to avoid using the facilities—or home, I expect guys to be considerate of others. You don’t have to be a pig. If ladies are sharing space, then it’s even more important (and, yes, I do put the toilet seat down!).
The bottom line is this: I don’t want to wallow in a pig’s mess, I don’t want to use facilities that another guy left filthy, and I don’t want to clean up after a slob. Do you? I can deal with people being sloppy otherwise; I tend to be a clutter bug myself. I can wash a few extra dishes and not freak out over them. I can get a little irritated if someone leaves their clothes in the washer or dryer when I need to use them, but I get over it. Dirty, disgusting bathrooms from inconsiderate pigs? No! With them I draw the line.
One final observation… If you’re a Christian, then Jesus has said, without qualification, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” right? “By this all will know that your are my disciples if you love one another.” He wants us to be kind, considerate, compassionate. I would suggest that these everyday sorts of putting others ahead of yourself, of thinking kindly instead of being thoughtlessly self-centered, and of making life better and easier for those closest at hand is exactly what he has in mind. Like they say, “Charity begins at home,” and it costs almost nothing but a bit of time and kindly intention. I wonder how many arguments would never start in marriages, homes, and living and working places if people would apply Jesus’ highest priority where it really does matter. Why do to those we like and love what we’d never do to our worst enemy (cause he’d deck us for it)? And, even him we believers are called to love. That’s why I try to keep the bathroom clean, first of all; it’s also why I put more attention into uncluttering, why I go an extra mile in the kitchen, and do more rather than make demands for others to do. I urge you to do what you can, too.
Now if I was working a different angle, I’d ask in what other areas people show themselves at their worst. I happen to think that bathroom pigs are at the bottom, but I have little doubt that I’d be shocked to hear otherwise. I’m guessing many could share incidents of their own inconsiderate grossness except they are probably too ashamed and too embarrassed to admit what they’ve done. That’s the saddest part of this concern. We already know how repulsive and thoughtless we can be and often are…and we do it anyway! People talk about changing the world; well, how about beginning in those so very necessary little rooms. You might be surprised how big of a difference it will make.
Added thoughts: I do have a few other expectations. If you break it, you fix it; you make it dirty, you clean it. If you don’t own it and you didn’t pay for it, leave it alone, and don’t mess with it without permission. If advice wasn’t requested, don’t bother giving it (They won’t listen anyway, and they may resent it). You have two ears and one mouth; trying listening more and talking less. Proof of your genuine interest and concern is in you listening, not in your verbal assurances, so give people your focused attention. Don’t spout opinions like they’re gospel, and don’t treat the gospel like it’s just your opinion. If you have other sensible guidelines for getting along, feel free to add them as comments. JRW