Tuesday, August 30, 2005

organic vs. chemical

This is not the debate you might think. I'm no Rachel Carson. No, this is much more pedestrian than that. Remember. I'm trying to talk about evanescent topics, nothing that requires me to think.

To that end, tonight's topic. By the way, party shuffle is once again providing my soundtrack. For a different spin on the list of songs, I will randomly insert the artist and title as each plays (plus my rating on a 1-5 scale). Should make for fun reading!

"It's My Life" - Talk Talk llll

The bathrooms at my office are ugly. Really ugly. Actually they're hideous. As best as I can tell, the building is circa 1971, and by the looks of it, much of the decor is original. The stalls are bright orange. The semi-stone-like tiles are rough and unattractive and terribly greenish brown. They not only cover the floor, but also the walls. The grout is distinctly dingy (actually, it's turned black in most places).

"Come Dancing" - The Kinks lll

There's little in the way of real ventilation, oftentimes making the experience, um, less than invigorating. You know, everyone thinks they smell like roses. Everyone is wrong. In my home, I have multiple means of abating such situations (I know better than to think anyone using these particular rooms in my house emits floral aroma). Apparently, the desire to attend to such considerations in a work environment is not as strong.

"Just the Girl" - The Click Five lll

That doesn't mean that the opportunity to address it doesn't exist. It does! In the form of the automated sprayer box thingy mounted to the top of the stall support panel. A few years ago, some scent was installed, and for about three days, the bathroom smelled not as stale and, um, unpleasant as otherwise. But once that can expired, it was never replaced.

That is, until now. Apparently, someone was recently inspired to try again.

"Clara Bow" - Fifty Foot Wave lll

Maybe there was a traveling salesman who convinced the building services director to try this new product guaranteed to make restroom patrons not think about the potentially offensive atmosphere. Maybe it was a catalog of office maintenance products, with a shiny can claiming "fresh citrus aroma!" Maybe someone got a whiff of this stuff and was so stunned that they were hypnotized into buying it and installing it into our corporate restrooms.

"Curtains Aside" - Tord Gustavsen Trio lllll

I'm not sure because I've never had the opportunity before now to test it, but I think that malodorous and organic human scents may actually be preferable to the chemical-drenched waft of irradiated oranges and limes. Words can nary describe the toxicity of this "air freshener." For the first week or so, it could actually be detected from outside the restroom door, about 20 feet down the hallway. Heaven forbid the door was open or -- worse -- you entered the room!

"World Between Us" - Ephraim Lewis lllll

During that first week, I encountered several phenomena when utilizing this facility.

[1] I held my breath a lot.
[2] My eyes watered.
[3] My throat became sore.
[4] My nostrils burned.
[5] I felt the need to exhale long enough to warn incoming patrons of the dangers.
[6] I got dizzy (although I don't know if this was due to the smell, or the lack of oxygen from holding my breath).
[6] I began contemplating a chamber pot for my office.

For the next couple weeks after that, it only assaulted the olfactory at the reach of the door knob.

"I Wonder Why the Wonderfalls" - Andy Patridge llll

It still pained me to enter, although to a lesser degree. Recently, it seems to have levelled off. While that may seem to be a good thing, it's still a remarkably strong odor. Has anyone else been so adversely affected by this misguided attempt at enhancing the ambiance of our facilities? Nobody has said anything. But really, who would? People just don't talk about the smells they encounter in bathrooms.

Except me. What else are blogs for?

"Salt" - Lizz Wright llll

Still waiting to receive my new and hopefully by then unbroken computer back, so I can retire this old tired dog that bites me every time I try to listen to music and write on my blog simultaneously. Maybe it's trying to give me a signal that I shouldn't try so hard to multitask. Yeah, that's it. Maybe the corporate air sanitizer is manufactured in the same plant as emachines, and the citrus turned my brand new computer into a lemon!

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