And I’ll Bet He Doesn’t Even Wash His Hands

I’ve been running from the new building for about a year now and things are mostly the same. The scenery is different but the battle is the same: convenience of lunchtime miles vs. coworkers seeing my bare legs. I keep my head down a lot. If I can’t see them, they can’t see me.

My new building is nestled inside a knot of hilly, narrow, curvy roads. Thick Pennsylvania woods crowd thin shoulders and sightlines vanish as soon as they appear. If your car breaks down, your only option is to leave it there and wait for someone to smash into it. When coworkers ask how I can run on these roads I casually raise my eyebrows and shrug. It makes me look cool and masks my fear of getting killed, be it by a distracted motorist or a wayward bear.

There’s a college about a mile away with a couple stress-free campus roads and I was excited about the possibility of lunchtime speedwork on the track. The roads and paths are a welcome change of pace from the surrounding streets but, although they have a track team, the college has no track. Things aren’t perfect.

The new building does have a huge advantage over the old building, however – the fitness center and locker room. I don’t use the fitness center, on account of how lame it is, but I was thrilled to trade in my handicapped stall for the elbow room and appropriateness of a bona-fide locker room. When I sit down to put on my shoes, or hang up my pants in a locker, I can almost forget about the time I returned to the old building after a run to find a running toilet and a quarter inch of water on the bathroom floor.

The locker room has showers as well, which is great because when people see me running at lunch they assume I take a shower afterward. I don’t. After stretching in front of a fan for five minutes, I’m pretty much good to go. Also, I’d rather squeeze in two extra miles at lunch than squeeze into a shower stall that the hairy guy from logistics just dripped out of.

So I’ve settled into a tired routine, which is my favorite kind. I dart down to the locker room to change a little before noon so I can slip out of the lobby before the lunchtime crowd leaves the building. I can easily bang out 6-7 miles before the lunchers get back, and then stretch and change and be back at my desk in an amount of time bordering on reasonable. This is how I live my life. It’s always the same.

And then it all changed.

A month ago I walked into the locker room and saw a sign:


What kind of a jerk puts trash in a urinal?


Oh, it’s probably the same kind of jerk who puts urine in a trashcan.

You don’t see a sign like that without immediately visualizing a grown man urinating into a trashcan. If you then head out for an easy 6, you’ll pretty much visualize it again and again during that, too. The worst part was that I likely knew the guy who was doing it. At the very least I must have seen him around. But then I got hung up wondering if I would have preferred that it was a stranger. It would certainly be worse if, for example, a homeless guy was sneaking in and peeing in the trash. Wouldn’t it? It was a long 6.

I was back a couple days later for another lunchtime run and paused for a moment outside the door, hoping the sign would be gone. It wasn’t. It stared blankly at me while I walked past as if to say, “I might have pee in me right now.”

The sign began to haunt me. Everyone was a suspect – other men in the fitness center, men sitting across the table from me in a meeting, the guy who kind of hops when he walks. The only place I felt safe was in the bathroom because, you know, he wouldn’t be in there. One day I was alone in the locker room and a guy I’d never met or even seen before walked in and boomed “All right! This party’s gettin’ started!” which, aside from being a totally fucking creepy thing to say when you walk in on a stranger getting changed, made me immediately wonder, “like, a peeing in the trash party?”

Time passed.

Now, a month later, the sign is still there so it must keep happening. To be honest, I hardly notice it anymore, which is kind of a relief but also kind of awful. What kind of life am I living where regular workplace trashcan urination is no longer noteworthy? Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and the more I think about it, the more I want to pee in that trashcan.

It must be incredible. Otherwise, why would someone do it? And then do it again and again? What am I missing out on? Also, let’s be honest… they’re kind of asking for it. The sign looks more and more like a dare every day and the trashcan is right there at pee level. I wouldn’t even have to stand on my tiptoes. God, it must be so great.

Furthermore, there’s little chance I’d get caught; the other guy’s already on their radar. He’s who they’re looking for. Even if I got caught in the act, I’m sure I could talk my way out of it. No, no, no… look, you’ve got it all wrong. I’m not that guy. Okay, okay. Yes, I pissed in the trashcan. But I’m not the guy who’s BEEN pissing in the trashcan; I just did it this one time. Look, I don’t piss in trashcans; that’s the other guy. See?

Yesterday the sign was gone. Just like that. No fanfare, no “Thanks for putting it in the toilet, guys!” It was like no one had ever looked at that trashcan and thought, “Well, here we go.” I was never going to actually pee in the trash, but at least now I know that nobody else is having all kinds of fun while I pee in the toilet like a sucker.

2 thoughts on “And I’ll Bet He Doesn’t Even Wash His Hands

  1. Sarah Carey

    This made me cackle: “All right! This party’s gettin’ started!” which, aside from being a totally fucking creepy thing to say when you walk in on a stranger getting changed, made me immediately wonder, “like, a peeing in the trash party?”

    That is some creepy shit.

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