Friday, February 25, 2005

My arm's off; quick: grab a band-aid!

So I work in some crack-whore's dream...

Three years ago, it was decided that our work-area needed a renovation. So they shipped us off to the 4 corners of the facility and began a wonderous year-long do-over. We were excited to come back and find neatly arranged cubes of relaxing colors and more space than we'd had before. It didn't take long for the happiness to wear off, though, when we discovered the one element that had been utterly ignored: the bathrooms.

We have a 2 stall, 3 urinal men's room that serves our cube-farm and the cafeteria. That bathroom sees a lot of traffic through the day, and not all of it is friendly. Yet there's something very important that's missing from our bathroom. VENTILATION. Yup, there's no ventilation. At all. Period. Heck, there's not even A/C, but at least it's insulated by the building and surrounding areas.

But, my God, the stench. Oh, and of course, when it's cold outside, the heat is on. So: the heated stench! There are times when I challenge myself to hold my breath long enough to use the bathroom, wash my hands, and flee. Of course, I've never made it, and that raspy gasp I finally have to take is just that much more brutal because of Jim's dis-agreeable Mexican tamale-fest.

Ah, but there's an option. There's another bathroom in the next cube-farm! Joy? Oh, no... This stellar feat of engineering is in a hallway that lacks any sort of temperature control. Apparently the stuff in this cube-farm is sensitive, so "they" bricked-in the cube-farm and left the hallway un-regulated. Neat trick. Then, add to that the 4 8'-tall windows in the men's room (that are always wide-open after Jim's tamale-fest-gone-bad), and you get a really neat environment: average bathroom temperatures below 40 in the winter, and your butt stuck to the seat in the hot & humid summer.

Now, before I get all excited, it's important to note that the engineers have tried to address the issue: they put a giant hair-dryer in the hallway to blow hot air around. Of course, the bathroom door is solid-core, so there's no help there. Ah, but wait! Just this week the engineers apparently found a pair of frozen testicles on the bathroom floor, because they came back and put a smaller giant hair-dryer in the bathrooms. Now the temperature's up, and winter-time in the bathroom is not a terrifying concept.

I was so excited to see that heater go up. Until I realized what a typical bureaucratic solution had been implemented. My ass will still get stuck to the seat in the summer. There will still be 100% humidity and 95-degree temperatures in the bathroom, and my choice will be between horrid stench of one bathroom and sweltering heat in the other. And that's how your government works: treat the symptoms, never the disease. I can't even begin to imagine how much those damn heaters cost to run per day. They're inducing a high current over a high-resistance wire, and blowing out the resultant heat with an enormous fan. Given that the average hair-dryer can blow fuses at 1600W, I figure we're probably doing at least 10x that figure, and probably much much more.

I wonder how much it would have cost to put a cheap A/C on the roof, and run enough venting for the hallway and two bathrooms.

1 comment:

Manda said...

Wife had bathroom excitement this morning as well. I go into the stall, forgetting I stuck my badge in my back pocket. When I turnaround and undo my britches, plop! My badge falls into the toilet.

Fortunately, I had not used the facilities.

Unfortunately, those damn toilets don't flush very well in general.

I scrubbed my hands for five minutes.