Monday, October 15, 2007

Man vs. Beast: Bathroom Edition

Last week I received an informal memo from my office building (I overheard some guys in the hallway) warning me against using one of the two men’s bathrooms on my floor. This was a problem because it’s my preferred bathroom: It is larger, has more stalls and better smelling soap. Basically it’s like going to the bathroom in a Cadillac as opposed to a Kia.

But when I heard WHY I shouldn’t use the bathroom, I quickly conceded. Apparently, there was what you might call a cockroach convention in the bathroom. You see, my office building dates back to 1920 (I just made that up, I don’t even know if that’s possible) and last month huge renovations began to completely restructure much of the building’s lobby, hallways and bathrooms. This must have bothered all the cockroaches who lived there, because they decided to hold this town council in the men’s bathroom (where else would they hold a meeting?) I didn’t peek in like some other guys did because I’m not a raging lunatic, but I imagine that if I did what I would have seen was fifty or so cockroaches milling about with cups of muddy coffee and biscuit cookies from a tin. There would have been a chairman in front of the group trying to quiet everyone down, and it would unequivocally have been the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life.

A little side note: It’s not that I’m that squeamish around insects. I was just like every other kid who played with bugs. But somewhere down the line I reached the age of reason and realized that bugs can kill you. This was confirmed when I was living in my first New York apartment during college and one night while watching TV I saw out of the corner of my eye something dart across the floor. It was so large that for a second I wondered how a cat could have gotten into my apartment, and how the cat could have fit a raccoon in its mouth? Then I nearly fainted when I saw that it was actually a cockroach. I mean, this thing could have beat me up in a standing fist fight. And contrary to what my dad used to say, it was not afraid of me. It was bothered by me, but thankfully too cool to waste its time on me. It left and I didn’t sleep for two days. That experience changed my whole way of thinking about bugs. In fact, you could even say that at that point I underwent a Metamorphosis. (I’m selling that joke to “The New Yorker”!)

So, logically, I avoided the bathroom all week, even though I had seen men walk in and come out alive (yes, I actually waited outside to make sure). It wasn’t until this morning, in fact, that I decided to venture back in. One too many times I had been forced to wait on line for a urinal in the small Kia bathroom. I deserve better than that at work. Well, I probably don’t deserve better, but I’m stubborn and kind of stuck-up, so if it came down to waiting in line to pee or overcoming my own petty fears, I decided I would just go in the janitors sink. But then they started locking that door, so I went with option C and faced my fears.

I opened the door to the bathroom like a police officer entering a crime scene: quietly, stealthily, eyes darting around the room searching for movement. I felt bad for the guy who was coming out of a stall right as I walked in because if I had had a gun, I likely would have shot him, and he knew it.

After a thorough investigation of the entire room, I felt confident that the building management had eradicated the cockroach uprising, or maybe reached a settlement agreement with them and given them their own conference room. Either way, I was relieved. I went into a stall and sat down. (HAHA, POOP! Come on, people, this is serious.)

After about 30 seconds, it happened. (No, not that.) My worst fear. I thought I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. No sooner did I audibly say to myself, “It can’t be . . .” did I see it approaching me. One cockroach. One, big cockroach. At the town council, he would have been the one with the dirty overalls and the ax over his shoulder. He moved slowly and unsurely, as if thinking, “I know that meeting is around here somewhere . . .”

I was paralyzed, not only by fear, but literally I couldn’t get up yet. I wasn’t done. So I tried to calm myself. “We are all part of Nature,” I thought. “There is a order to Nature. I understand that. I have my place; the cockroach has his. And his is Hell.”

To spare my loved ones a considerable amount of embarrassment, I won’t go into detail about what happened next. But basically the cockroach wasn’t moving. And I had to. But I couldn’t let him out of sight (that’s when they kill you). Since I was peeking at him through the bottom of the stall door in front of me, I had to kind of open the door before I stood up so as not to lose sight of him. Let’s just say that if anyone else had walked in the bathroom right then, I would have been caught in the most compromising position of finishing up in a bathroom stall, my gaze locked with a large bug, both of us wary of any sudden movements.

Luckily, no one did come in the bathroom. And the bug, for all his dumb bravado, didn’t make a move. I sidled past him to the sink where I washed my hands, never taking an eye off him. He remained still. In fact, he may have been dead. But he could have been just playing dead. You never know. Bugs are crafty. They haven’t survived for millions of years by being predictable. Which is why, when I left the bathroom and passed someone in the hallway headed to the bathroom, I didn’t warn him about the roach. Nature has its order, and I had survived that order. But it wasn’t for me to take food out of the roach’s mouth. We had a mutual respect.

But now I travel to the bathroom with a small can of Raid wrapped up in a newspaper. Because I won’t let him take away my freedom to pee at will. If I do that, he’s already won.

46 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the poop!

Somebody's getting lucky tonight...

October 15, 2007 at 3:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, no picture?

October 15, 2007 at 3:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger fort knocks said...

Giant Texas roaches (about the size of a Shetland pony on steroids) used to have their bar-mitzvahs and annual caucuses in the living room of my apartment in college. Maybe they still do, but I don't know, I graduated.

October 15, 2007 at 3:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger JW said...

Love the roach story! Really enjoyed your site!
check mine out if you have a minute.
www.messageonanapkin.com

October 15, 2007 at 3:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rachel said...

Not to stray off subject too much...but you seemed to have an intimate knowledge about the differences of peeing in a kia as opposed to a Cadillac. Am I ruining a future blog post or is your imagination just that good?
One more---completely off subject---question: Who would play you in [redacted] the movie? Sorry if you already answered that. I'm new here.

October 15, 2007 at 4:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Crankyputz said...

I can see why your so afraid...

He could step on you any second....

(Still cracking up imagining a cockroach with a pick axe)

October 15, 2007 at 4:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Blake Redgrave said...

Dude, you're kind of a wuss.

October 15, 2007 at 4:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger [mother] said...

Excellent post. That's the kind of writing I know you are capable of -and no mention of oral sex, the f word or hangovers. See, it can be done.

Your "Smart Car" sized bathroom at home must have made you really uncomfortable!

October 15, 2007 at 4:49:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you think cockroaches are bad you should see the transvestite in my shower every morning.....

October 15, 2007 at 4:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dan said...

Wow, that raises so many questions. Why is there a transvestite in your shower? And every morning? And why do you look at them in the shower? It sounds like the opening to the scariest sitcom ever.

October 15, 2007 at 4:55:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your mom prefers you write about shit.

October 15, 2007 at 4:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger WiscoBlonde said...

My apartment building just got infested and I usually carry around one of those big click lighters so I can fry the little suckers if I see one. EWWWW.

October 15, 2007 at 4:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger emily said...

Having a stare-down with an 80 foot long cockroach would be my worst nightmare come true. For real, I want to hide under the covers right now just thinking about it. I'm from Texas, and I think I was scarred as a child by watching them fly outside.
*Shudders* Gross gross gross. Good luck with your battle against evil.

October 15, 2007 at 5:08:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hugo said...

kafka and blogs.

the bridge has finally been established!

webby, for your consideration.

October 15, 2007 at 5:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Sofia said...

I laughed so hard I peed in my pants. (Did I really write that?) Love your writing style. Bravo for your victory. Once again, Man on top. At least for now...

October 15, 2007 at 6:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Red said...

And if the roaches win, the terrorists win, too.

October 15, 2007 at 6:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Name: Tessa said...

lol. I would of drowned down the toilet if I saw a roach.

I'd watch a sitcom that opens with a transvestite shower scene.

October 15, 2007 at 6:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger PJ said...

I had an encounter with a cockroach in my hotel room in Jamaica. The first time it got away, but later on I vanquished it with a shoe and a bottle of sun lotion. Call me PJ, The Cockroach Slayer.

October 15, 2007 at 6:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Christophe said...

I have no problem with roaches. It seems you can teach them tricks like bringing your newspaper in the morning or making your coffee. Very useful.

My problem is with those giant mosquitoes with the very long, thin legs. People say they actually don't attack people nor suck blood. I personally think that's what they want us to believe.

And don't get me started on those spiders big enough catch a SUV and suck it dry! Living next to nature has its advantages, but if nature wants to settle in my house it'd better pay rent!

October 15, 2007 at 7:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ann m. said...

where I lived in Brooklyn, the cockroaches had their meetings on the sidewalk. If you weren't invited, they kicked you into oncoming traffic.

the ones in my barracks in Florida were so much worse. They flew. Evil kamikaze bastards that would fly at your face if you pissed them off...be glad those weren't the ones in your bathroom....

October 15, 2007 at 10:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ... said...

Wholly unnatural I say!

Great blog - but ask yourself: what would Zizek say about your poop-story???

Hmmmmmm.

Michael~

PS- all you readers DO NOT CLICK ON MY "..." profile link!!! Don't, seriously, don't do it!!! I warned you!!!

October 16, 2007 at 2:27:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They ARE evolutionarily superior to us. They're so well adapted to the environment that they haven't evolved in a bakabillion years.

PS How cute is it that your Mom actually wrote out "the f word" instead of just writing 'fuck' (or did she mean Floccinaucinihilipipification?) and labels a post about poo, peeing in janitors' sinks and vermin as one of your best....

you've killed her hope, haven't you?

October 16, 2007 at 4:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger PsychoAtheist said...

The roaches are just biding their time, waiting for the right moment...

October 16, 2007 at 7:18:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous mindy said...

This is why I don't live in New York. I don't think cockroaches even know how to find Minnesota on a map, much less come here!

October 16, 2007 at 9:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger DevilsHeaven said...

At least it was on the floor, and not on the ceiling over your head, where it could lose it's grip at anytime and fall...on YOUR HEAD.

My worst fear, my skin is crawling just thinking about it!

October 16, 2007 at 10:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Rach said...

At least it didn't fly at you. It could have been worse.

Great post!

October 16, 2007 at 10:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Ki Two said...

Christophe, I think you're talking about crane flies, and they don't bite people.

Dan, this post was pretty awesome. You turn over new leaves with each new adventure. Let's just hope there aren't roaches under the next leaf. :)

October 16, 2007 at 11:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger shaygo said...

that just made me feel gross inside -- the cockroache aspect -- not the pooping aspect -- that part made me feel happy for you.

October 16, 2007 at 12:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger harpo said...






October 16, 2007 at 1:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Real Live Lesbian said...

Great story!

October 16, 2007 at 1:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger David said...

Haha! "It wasn't for me to take food out of the roach's mouth."

October 16, 2007 at 3:08:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very awesome post. Actually you just made my day.

Thanks!

October 16, 2007 at 4:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger R.E.H. said...

Truly entertaining little story this one. Nothing is quite as scary as man vs. bug stories.

Makes me wonder if I should write about my own experience - a two and a half our stand-off between me and a giant spider which had me coming in late for work one day.

Keep it up, Dan. I always look forward to reading your blogs.

October 16, 2007 at 5:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lindsay Paige said...

Roaches are evil! Evil in the sense of truly demented Asian horror evil, not that pansy-ass Christian, Harry Potter evil. I had one hop in the shower with me once - the nerve! I flew out screaming and dripping and had to kill the bastard with a bottle of shampoo, and drown him, and flush him. Oh, the horror!

Anyway, I enjoy your blog. Check mine out if you get a chance... http://dirtyhoneyeyes@blogspot.com I'm a newbie, but I've got shameless aspirations of being a blog you call the next day.

October 16, 2007 at 7:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger MaryBeth said...

Ahhh I love your writing. Thanks for the lovely story!

October 16, 2007 at 8:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Chris Bassoo said...

Posted by Christopher Bassoo, Canada

I wanted to thank you for the informative and enjoyable read. I have been sitting here with my coffee and laptop enjoying a Bassoo family evening. Again many thanks, warmest of regards Chris Bassoo, Toronto, Canada

October 16, 2007 at 11:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger silaw04 said...

i hate cockroaches...

October 17, 2007 at 1:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Plexus said...

You'd never survive in Central America. It's new bug-of-the-week club down there.

If it makes you feel better, I ran from a scary rat that hissed at me when I lived in Chicago.

May your movements be less traumatic in the future. Now if we can only cast Denzel Washington as you in the feature....

October 17, 2007 at 1:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger rheen said...

Gifted writer. Congrats on getting the Notable Blog status.

October 17, 2007 at 3:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Scott said...

That was funny! I think I'd skip the can of Raid and carry a 12 guage shotgun into the bathroom.

October 17, 2007 at 4:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger bartaci said...

Nicely written, blunt, and incredibly funny =)

October 17, 2007 at 6:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Red Robin said...

OMG I hate roaches so much, every time I see one I scream and then gag. One was in our office, and it ran across my foot in the break room. I am still having nightmares.

October 17, 2007 at 10:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Katie said...

Reading this blog made my skin crawl almost as bad as when I had to read The Metamorphosis (twice) back in school. *shudder*

October 17, 2007 at 10:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Hermione said...

Well, when I see a cockroach, I usually leave a hell of a scream!! I just... hhhate them!! They're so disgasting, so big, so juicy, so dirty, so arrogant (lol:p)!! We must exterminate them, before it's too late!! I know every species is supposed to have a purpose on this planet e.t.c., but I just... can't stand them!! I just can't see any point on their existance!! I find them so disgasting that I can't even kill them (wasting my shoe!?). Please, pllleaazzz, will you do it for me?!?!?

October 17, 2007 at 11:08:00 AM EDT  
Blogger saja26 said...

Oh my goodness. I just spent this entire post silently stifling my uncontrollable laughter behind my work computer. Best.Post.Ever.

October 17, 2007 at 1:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Christophe said...

@ki two:
You see, you fell into their trap! The crane fly conspiracy lives on, but no matter what they do to me, I will expose them to the world! (insert X-files music here)

October 18, 2007 at 3:32:00 AM EDT  

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