Saturday, September 4, 2010

Janitors Have It Rough

I've mentioned in a previous blog (The Bartender) about my short-lived job at Shamrock Lanes bowling alley in Airdrie back in the day. I won't use this entry to retread my discontent with that job. I will, however, use this entry to accent that discontent.

Near the end of my tenure as Pin jockey Dave, I was asked to cover more shifts than the usual league nights. I was often asked to cover Saturdays (9-5) and the rare Friday evening. Saturday mornings were the younger group of YBC (Youth Bowling Council) bowlers so it was a deluge of little brats and their cheap idiot parents. But after about 12:00PM, the YBCers screwed off and the lanes were open for public bowling. Public bowling was easily my favourite shift to cover. Joe Everyday never threw the ball hard enough to tangle pins and for the most part public bowlers left their area clean. Furthermore, it was always new people so I never had the opportunity to get to know them and eventually despise them for being bowlers. It was usually good times. Usually.

One Saturday afternoon, I had just finished cleaning the washrooms (Dane Cook has good reason to ask in his act "WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS WET?"). The washrooms were always pretty gross. Especially on league nights when some drunk dickhead would stumble into the washroom and use the ashtray as a urinal. Anyway, as I'm sure you can imagine, it was always a relief when I was finished such an awful task. I returned to the counter and enjoyed the silence of an empty bowling alley. I flipped on the big screen television in the lounge and watched Sliders on satellite (I had an enormous crush on Sabrina Lloyd back then...still kind of do actually). About twenty minutes later, a group of people paraded into the bowling alley. Whenever I saw a parade of people I figured it was going to be bad news, but this time I wasn't so harsh. Most of the people were mentally and/or physically handicapped (or is it handi-able?) and the remaining people were helpers. The mentally and physically challenged (yes, that sounds suitably PC for this post) all seemed to be happy and excited, so I thought it was cool that someone set up an outing for them.

I set up the computers for all the players and bumpers for all the lanes and then sat back to watch the ensuing hilarity. Despite there being four or five lanes active, only one person bowled at any given time while the rest of the group watched (and later applauded the bowl).

You think me cruel to laugh, but these people were the funniest bowlers I've ever seen. I remember one person with Down's Syndrome who was just pacing around while holding a bowling ball - He was slapping the ball with his hand while sticking his tongue out and making deflating-balloon noises. Another person repeatedly tried running down the lane in a fit of anger when he didn't knock down the pins but EVERY TIME would biff out because the lanes were slippery.

At any rate, karma is a bitch and my internal laughter was Type Bad Karma. And payback was swift. About half way through their games, there was one lady whose turn it was to bowl. I remember her well because she ruined my life. She was wearing brown cords and a white-yellow sweater. She had brown hair that was as much a rat's nest as it was human hair. She had Down's Syndrome, but no mental or physical disability was going to spare her my hatred. She walked up to the mark with a ball in her hands. She stood, aimed her ball, and was about ready to bowl.

Out of nowhere, she turned to her handler helper and said "Uh oh." She then dropped the ball on the spot and darted toward the washrooms. At first I thought little of it until some of the other people began to mill around where the girl was standing while making "ewww" noises. One of the helpers came to the counter and said "there's been an accident."



I walked over to the spot and noticed a puddle of diarrhea where she had been standing. There were then little drops that made a trail from that spot to the washroom where the girl ran. Myself and one of the helpers walked to the washroom. A journey I should have never taken, what I saw still haunts me to this day.

There was this grown women (albeit mentally challenged), crying in the corner of the women's washroom. She had taken off her socks and pants, which were now sitting in the middle of the floor. One sock was clean but the other was completely stained with diarrhea and her pants were wet in appearance along the visible leg...that's right...shit wet.

Worst of all, there was liquid crap EVERYWHERE! I'm not sure what the hell she did, but she seemed to have tried the GAP challenge in the washroom I just cleaned! There were smears and hand prints on all the damn walls and smears all over the friggin' floor (probably from when she took off her clothes and crawled to the corner). Smearing over the stall door in the corner revealed that was the stall she chose to enter to "evacuate" herself. The stall itself was even worse. So bad that I got that dry-heaving, I'm-going-to-throw-up sensation. There was diarrhea all over the floor. A whole bunch of it. Yes, what you're thinking is correct...she ALMOST made it to the toilet, but not quite. That last foot and a half was too much to ask and so she dumped her bowels all over the floor. Ironically, the toilet was still sparking clean aside from some minor splatter at the base.

I kept my cool because the woman was clearly distraught. I left the washroom while the helper dealt with the situation. There were spare clothes in one of the vehicles upstairs (I'm guessing this kind of thing is a regular occurrence?) and so the helper was able to get the woman cleaned up and dressed. The group never finished their games as a result, and they all left right after the woman was dressed.

Yup. The helper person didn't lift a damn finger to clean up the mess. Furthermore, I didn't even get an apology for the nightmare I was going to go through to get that washroom clean again. They just fucked off and left me to clean up the poo. My boss was the only other employee there and he was lazy and a twat. He wasn't going to touch it. If I wanted to keep my job, it was time to get knee-high in crap.

I wrapped a sweater around my head to cover my nose and mouth and I entered the washroom, armed with cleaning supplies. I didn't give a flying fudge about proper cleaning protocol in this instance. I used the mop to wash the floors and walls alike. I assure you, dear reader, that I was not getting any closer to the mess than the length of the mop handle. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and after about an hour I had cleaned it all up. I joked earlier about how Dane Cook asked in his act as to why public washrooms are always wet. Now you know. Because some poor bastard had to clean viscous poopies off the walls and floor with a mop. The walls were dripping wet and the floor was slippery as well. I didn't care. I was in there for an HOUR! I put up a wet floor sign outside the washroom door and left it.

As a bit of a "fuck you" to my boss for not helping, I stashed the mop and bucket back in the store room without emptying the filthy poo-water. Take that, Marshall. You pretentious prick! I quit the bowling alley very soon after that day (about a week or so). Not just because I was tired of being an unappreciated shitter-picker-upper but because league bowling season came to a close and there wasn't enough hours of work available to warrant staying.

If ever you have a severely upset stomach and know you'll be having a date with the toilet bowl for a while, please please PLEASE do me a favour and take a trip to Shamrock Lanes. If you pick a day when Marshall is working solo, this would be the greatest revenge a lowly bowling alley employee could ever ask for! And afterward, the Pepto Bismol is on me.

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