|Indiana Jones and the Tampon of Doom (mild TMI)
||[Jul. 27th, 2006|09:39 pm]
Background : In a library, there are usually more female employees than male ones. Thus, our management decided at some point to make the staff bathrooms (which are one toilet/sink in a room rather than stalls in a large area) unisex so it could be first come first served and the ladies wouldn't have to queue up 3 deep while the men's room sat vacant.
So at work yesterday, this male cow-orker that's about 50 and married (this will be relevant later) summons our (female) supervisor to complain that a used tampon is in the garbage in the unisex staff bathroom. And the tampon HASN'T BEEN WRAPPED UP!! It's JUST SITTING THERE!! In the garbage!
Unsure if he thinks the tampon is planning a Stephen King-esque Christine/maximum overdrive/Cell- like rampage, the supervisor clarifies to understand the problem. His complaint is not that it's rude or gross to have to look at someone's used tampon (which would make sense) , but that it's potentially biohazardous (?!) and that someone on the safety committee should Do Something about it, possibly including making the bathrooms single sex.
So the supervisor goes to investigate the errant tampon. She said it was not overly bloody, and that it was pretty far down in the trash, so you would only notice it if you were very tall and/or peering intently into the trash can. These are the 3 ft tall built in/recessed cans under the built-in paper towel dispenser that's you've seen in many restaurant/movie theatre bathrooms, so you don't tend to notice the contents unless the can is near full (this one wasn't) and the offending trash is at the top of the container. She was kinda surprised he noticed it at all given its location in the trash strata.
I find it hard to believe that Married Dude has never had to deal with this or is unaware that its ecologically bad to flush tampons. He and his wife have been married about 2 decades and have a non-adopted child together, so any arguments that his wife has never menstruated in their house because she's a cyborg or a MTF transsexual are not valid explanations. As the supervisor said, I could understand if it was on the floor or someone threw it against the wall, but his outrage was disproportionate to the offense.
Also, what is he expecting tampon users to do? Secure them in lead-lined containers prior to disposal? Most women just wrap them in a bit of TP before throwing them away, but occasionally the TP falls off or soaks through. If the tampon is "biohazardous" when it comes from the body, surely a cocoon of 1 ply toilet paper won't stop the AIDS or the Ebola from Coming To Get You. Unless you're digging through the trash for some reason, it shouldn't matter to you if the tampon is wrapped or not it you don't have to look at it.
This morning, Married Dude had cornered one of the four women on the safety committee, still on the Tampon Crusade. He mentions again segregating the bathrooms. I overheard this woman patiently explaining that unlike maxipads, tampons are not packaged in a plastic wrapper which can then be used for disposal, so TP or a paper towel is the only thing you can wrap them in. She asked if he had a proposal or suggestion of how to deal with the Unwrapped Used Tampon Menace. He remained indignant, especially when she seemed unwilling to push for one bathroom to be used by 80% of the staff and one reserved for the remaining 20%.
Meanwhile, as this dude was freaking out about tampons in the trash, one of our cretin post-teen Myspace addicts got stopped by the cops on a complaint that another patron had seen him place a gun in his waistband before entering the library. It turned out to only be a pellet gun, but it was enough to have him banned for 6 months since libraries, like post offices, are a bit twitchy about weird loners with weapons hanging out around our staff and public.
Hmm, gun or used tampon? which is the worst potential hazard? Which am I more freaked out about?
I'm off work tommorow, so if Day 3 of the Tampon Crisis happens, I won't know about it.