Hello, awesome readers.
So there’s this sign. I see it often because it’s on the mirror in the public washroom near my office.
Oh wait. That’s misleading.
When I say, “I see it”, I don’t mean I actually SEE IT. It’s more like: it’s there and I’m there and we both know we’re there but neither of us acknowledges the other. Kind of like a marriage.
Anyway, today I decided to READ the sign.
Before I continue let me share it with you …
Here’s what happened just prior to taking this picture:
I read the sign. The first vision to pop in the inner theater of my mind was of someone standing at the sink and reading the instructions out loud as they followed the steps.
Step 1. Wet hands. Check.
Step 2. Apply soap. Where’s the soap? Oh. There it is. Okay. Check.
Step 3. Rub hands for 15 seconds. 1 Mississippi … 2 Mississippi … 3 Mississippi …
Meanwhile they’re looking at their face in the mirror, making sure there’s nothing stuck in their teeth; playing a game of ‘lift and lower’ with their eyebrows; lifting their head slightly to make sure there’s nothing yucky dangling from the edge of their nostrils. You know. The stuff we all do. (Right?)
Suddenly the Director that lives in my head shouts, “CUT!!! Non. Non. Non. Mais alors!”
(The Director in my head is from Paris. Don’t judge me.)
Admittedly, I read the sign thinking that maybe I’ve been washing my hands wrong all these years. I thought that maybe – just maybe – reading the instructions would trigger some great dawning about the meaning of life.
But as it turns out, the Director is right.
Mais alors! (Translation: WTF?!!!)
Why does this sign even exist???
Either this sign is a sign that I should start questioning my sanity or it’s a sign that we need to start questioning everything that we THINK we know. And while the former is probably easier for y’all (let’s just blame my sanity), I went with the latter. I started questioning everything that I THINK I know. For example, I THINK I know that everyone knows how to wash their hands.
As I stood there, staring at myself in the mirror, contemplating the ridiculousness of this sign, a black light suddenly turned on in a dark corner of my mind and a memory exploded like popcorn in my head.
“OMG, I had forgotten about that,” my mirrored reflection said to me. Or maybe I said it to my mirrored reflection. (We were staring at each other at the time, so it’s hard to tell who had the thought first.)
Going back in time … circa 2007 …
I was in the stall of a public washroom and someone was in the stall next to mine. We were the only two people. I know this because there were only two stalls in this public washroom.
The stranger beside me flushed a mere five or six seconds before me and just as I opened my stall door, I caught a glimpse of the stranger’s back as she walked past the sink and exited the washroom, neglecting to wash her hands.
I was appalled. And as though that wasn’t enough, I realized that the stranger wasn’t a stranger at all, BUT MY BOSS (at the time).
I’m about to confess something:
While I “liked” this lady and respected her as my boss, it was at that moment that I lost all esteem for her.
Back to the present … circa now … and the moral of this story
There IS a need for this sign after all. Except I think that the communication is all wrong. We shouldn’t be telling people HOW to wash their hands, we should be telling them that if they don’t wash their hands they will be judged. I’m thinking something along the lines of having to wear a scarlet letter.
Because if you don’t wash your hands YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF.
Is it just me?
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Tara Leslie says
We have a sign like that at work, but I think it’s a legal requirement because we scrub and sterilise medical instruments. Apart from this situation, I can’t see how it’s needed, lol!
Mona Andrei says
Yes, agreed, Tara!
Andrea Bates says
Yep, legal requirement, usually, means that sign is there – but ew. That does gross me out. I’ll admit sometimes at home I’m in the bathroom and the phone rings or the kid screams and I run … but I always run right back because I’m thinking, OHNOOO!
And also cranky about not having a minute to pee in peace. 😉 But this? blergh.
Mona Andrei says
Ah legal requirement, yes, possibly. Although I still think the messaging is all wrong 🙂
I would not be too keen on having a co worker who doesn’t wash up, either. We don’t have instructional signs in our washroom, but there are the “don’t steal the land lotion”, “let’s try to keep this washroom clean” and other such. Which leads me to an email that got out several years ago. It was supposedly a picture of a sign that was taken in the male executive washroom of my company (not that I’ll ever be in any executive washroom, male or female) and….it was unbelievably rude in what it said. OMG. I rather would have the “how to wash” instructional.
Mona Andrei says
Oh great story, Alana! Do you remember who wrote the email? One of the execs themselves, perhaps?