I bring to you today a question about the social contract in hopes of making a case of my own and perhaps to glean some insight from some of yous who deign to read and consider my thoughts on the matter. This is not about the grand, all-encompassing social contract as described by Hobbes, et al. but the specific deal between us baseborn peasants that governs our day to day interactions. Not so much about the rights we give up as part of our membership in this “society” but more about what is right and what is wrong when living in close proximity with a great number of other humans.
What exactly is contained within this contract is hard to define, like society or culture. Unwritten, not notarized or signed, it is what you think it is. Like pornography, you know it when you see it. Of course it also changes depending on where one finds oneself and also with the passing of time. In this case the where is a bathroom in my place of work. The time is actually a pair of occasions within the past year but surely far more often than that.
This man to whom I will refer – I shall call him the filthy pig man – has violated this sacrosanct pact and I am unable to let it slide. He is a delivery driver for a local company contracted to shuttle mail and other various items between our main office (my workplace) and our two other local offices. Because of this he has a card which allows him to access employee areas such as the lavatories and kitchen facilities. This is because, unlike our main office, our other places of business do not have a front desk reception area to receive parcels, mail, and the like.
His transgression, as confirmed by me on two separate occasions, was to use the stall in one of the bathrooms and then, without even a pause, to walk right out of that bathroom with nary a passing thought given to using the provided soap and sinks. I can merely guess at the stinking toad’s mental state. My two confirmations had me placed in the adjacent stall only able to gather from shoe type that this porcine individual was indeed the culprit. Regardless, I believe this act cannot be considered an innocent mistake despite the very likely reality that there is no point in trying to analyze the reasoning of a 60-year-old man with the personal hygiene of a first-grader.
While this despicable wretch has broken no laws and violated no explicit agreements, we all (should) know he has contravened an unspoken pact between civilized people. It is what allows us to trust that the banana we eat from Honduras has been treated with no ill will by any of the hands that touched it on its way to its final destination and that the elevator repairman has ensured our safety despite the fact he knows us not.
By granting this putrid garbage person access to our sanctum he has implicitly agreed to abide by the norms of this place and time. And in this commode area and in this age, the scrubbing of previously fouled hands is a requirement. We have agreed to allow his usage of the room based on the assumptions that he knows and will follow these norms. By violating them he is violating all of us individually and as a whole, without discretion.
I grew up in a health care family. Both grandmothers were nurses as was my mother who also worked in health care administration. I’ve been trained well on the importance of washing your damn hands, especially in a shared bathroom environment. While it’s true that germs only live for five or ten minutes on an inanimate surface before dying from lack of food or water, the office bathroom door handle may be touched anywhere up to three, four, or more times in ten minutes depending on which meeting just had a break.
And it not as if this putrid swine is simply unaware of the expected behaviours in this world. Indeed, he seems instead to revel in defying them in the ugliest ways possible. This rancid individual has “bragged” to our receptionist about making excessive noise in bathrooms as if it were some sort of raised fist, signifying defiance of the perceived oppression under which he toils. Indeed, my own evidence of his offences includes a time when he arrived at the unfortunate porcelain receptacle and proceeded to speak out loud to the toilet in his stall. I made haste to extricate myself from the situation so as to avoid his foul actions but there is no doubt his monologue to the sewer was for my benefit.
This flagrant and intentional soiling of surfaces extends from the lavatory all through our office now, as whatever his grubby paws alight upon will also be contaminated and possibly spread by the next inadvertent victim who may choose to place their hand in the invisible scum he has left behind. It is because of this intentional and misguided violation of the social code, not for any righteous reason but simply to prove to himself that his slovenly manner is a form of protest rather than a mark of ill breeding, which forces my hand. I must do all I can to remove this crass, mildewed beast from our environment any way I can. Only then will our water closets be safe once more.
Since I also must abide by the social contract, what options do I have? Clearly any illegalities which are relatively just must be ruled out. But is there any shame or guilt I should feel as a result of using his befoulment of our environment as a means to force his egress from our company’s employ? I think not. As he knows well what he has done is wrong I believe any punishment inflicted on him is worthy and well-earned and I would be remiss in not using every avenue available to inflict this fate upon the fetid gargoyle at once.
Now, for Friday Night Curling!
After missing last week’s contest with illness, I was raring to go for another fine night of cracking rocks in the club. Sheet 12 we had again, the one with the convenient beer shelf, so I was pleased right off the bat. Even better, we played a team of all ladies – a pair of mid-40s women, one of their daughters, and their skip of about the same age as the daughter (mid/late 20s I guessed). They were of a good nature and were all there strictly for fun save the skip, who was apparently picked up as they needed a fourth. She was fairly cute in a bookish sort of way and was in it to win it. Her intensity was not of a grating manner so it was quite entertaining, actually.
We had a steal of 3 in the first end. They came back in the next end with 2. A single with the hammer in the third made it 4-2 for our crew and it seemed to be anyone’s game. 4 more for us with the hammer in the 4th end and I took leave to the beer pitcher downstairs knowing we were up 8-2 and it was basically over.
They managed 2 more in the fifth to get to 8-4. Still basically impossible in one end to come back. But this skip kept them in it. She’s a firecracker, she wouldn’t quit. She was giving us pointers on sweeping while we were trying to score. It was especially funny to me because the target of most of her instructions has been curling for quite some time and I’m sure thinks he no longer requires technical assistance.
We scored one more in the sixth for a 9-4 win. As per curling tradition we bought them a round of beer and some wine afterwards. All were from Ontario and they did not believe that spring would happen before March. I advised them that like everyone else who moves from out east or the priaires they would get soft like BC folks in two winters tops.
Overall it was a very good night of curling and our foursome is cruising along with a record of 5-0. Next week is a foe we’ve faced before but I cannot remember who they are. After that it is a bye week to accommodate a bonspiel and then three weeks of regular games before the spring playoffs.