Today’s Daily Prompt supposed that the New York Times was going to feature my next post on its home page. This would be my first exposure to thousands of people, so it is imperative that I make a good first impression.
Unfortunately, I suck at first impressions. Upon meeting me in real life, most people are not instantly enamored by my charming personality. It usually takes them a few years to discover that I am mostly harmless.
As far as the blog goes, I don’t seem to fare that much better. There have been a few times when I expected to see some additional traffic headed my way. Even though I realized it would be in my best interests to have a good post at the top of my blog, I couldn’t seem to come up with something inclusive enough. I aimed to write something that most people would find funny and relatable, and the result was a boring post about Walmart.
Perhaps my problem is that I can sometimes be a little sporadic with my subject matter. I’ll go from talking about a mundane day spent with my daughter to making fun of 80’s cartoons to discussing the Hamburglar. (Yes, I’m mentioning the Hamburglar in a blatant attempt to improve search result traffic) I don’t really have a main area of discussion that I can always go back to when in need of a representative post.
Some of my more popular posts have been about experiences in the office. I’m guessing that’s because many readers work in an office and have had similar experiences. It is telling that NBC had a popular show about office life, because most of NBC’s shows are not popular at all.
So without any further delay, here is the post that I would present to the readers of the New York Times:
First World Problems at the Office: Custodial Schedules
I’m not sure how often the bathrooms in my office building are cleaned, but however often it is, the cleanings always seems to correspond with times when I am either using the bathroom or preparing to do so.
I don’t spend lengthy stays in the bathroom out of necessity, I do so out of choice. That’s my time to get away from my desk and engage in some fun games on my phone like Scramble with Friends. (Note: If you play me in any of these games, and it’s been a while since I’ve taken my turn, don’t use the “Nudge” function. Simply send me an email asking me to eat more fiber.)
Sometimes, I’ll head towards the bathroom, and find that it is in the process of being cleaned. This is annoying, but really, it’s only a slight inconvenience, as I can just head to a different floor.
If I feel like some hard work is afoot, I’ll sometimes head to a different floor anyway. It helps avoid any awkward meetings when you emerge from the stall. There is an inherent danger in this technique though: If a co-worker spots you coming out of the bathroom on a different floor, that makes an awkward situation even worse.
I have learned that if I am required to go to a different floor, I need to go one floor up and not down, as the cleaning woman works from the top floor down when doing her rounds. By going one floor down, you increase the likelihood of being interrupted.
Getting interrupted is the worst. You’re sitting there comfortably, either actually taking care of business, or relaxing and playing on your phone, when there’s a knock on the door. The cleaning woman opens the door and calls out, “Hello?” and you’ve got to make some sort of response. I’m never quite sure what to say, so I usually just go with a “Yeah!”
Now I’m on the clock, and that’s a thoroughly uncomfortable feeling. I feel compelled to finish up as quickly as possible because this woman is now standing outside, waiting to clean up after me. She makes an attempt to smile, which makes it much worse, because you know that she’s really thinking: “Not only do I have to clean up a freshly used toilet, but you made me wait to do so.” I think that it would be less stressful to be judged by St. Peter than it is to be judged by this woman.
I don’t know if there’s a way to get a hold of the custodians’ schedule, but if I could, I would memorize it and make sure to avoid the cleaning times at all costs. “I really gotta go, but ooh, it’s 1:58! I guess I can hold it for another fifteen minutes!”
See what I mean? I try to make a good first impression, and what do I write about? My bathroom habits. Then again, some people might feel that my post would fit right in with the rest of the content on the Times’ site.