The Mystery of the Bathroom Smell
47 was the first to notice. “How come it smells like a bathroom in here?”
The temporary bathrooms have this curious smell, and I notice that if you spend any amount of time in there, you return with that odor clinging to you. It is most aggravating to smell like a urinal cake. All the bathrooms have toilets and urinals, but they are designated male or female. I guess it was just cheaper to get the his-and-hers toilet set.
My only explanation for the bathroom smell was that someone had been hanging out in the toilets and they came back to the barracks with that smell on them. But sometimes it would linger, and it’s really all you could smell. One time it gave me a headache. I have a very sensitive nose. I can smell everything. Even when the smell is good, if it hangs about too long or is too powerful, it drives me nuts.
A lot of us have resorted to burning candles, warming wax tarts or just spraying the place down with an entire bottle of Febreeze. You’re not supposed to burn candles or warm wax tarts, but really, I can’t sit in there for any period of time with that smell, like a sun-ripened urinal cake.
We share a barracks with the Chemical Girls (that’s what I call them). They were already living there when we moved in. It depends on who you ask if we get along. They seem to be heavy on the lesbian side. I don’t say that to be offensive; I say it because there are some strong indicators. One of them came right out and said she was a lesbian, and there are at least two others that have the look.
Yeah, yeah, go away with your EO. I’m not gay-bashing, because I could really give two shits if they’re gay or not. There is one chick that looks so much like a man that if I happen to get up in the middle of the night and I see her, I’m like, “Why is that guy in here?” She is the one that drags her feet. One night I screamed, “Pick up your feet!!!” because I really cannot stand the sound of slippers dragging across the floor.
As further evidence to their alleged lesbianism, one of them frequently asks the confessed lesbian to cuddle. Or rather she shouts across the barracks, “Hey, you want to cuddle?” Sometimes I hear them talking about massaging each other, but this really isn’t about the lesbianism. They could have a gay orgy for all I care, just as long as there is no smell.
There is a very weird one, Mewling Myrtle. She is the one that was blasting the Jesus music the second day we moved in. I call her Mewling Myrtle because whenever she listens to music she doesn’t exactly sing along, she mewls, like a dying cat. It is very low, like you almost can’t hear it, and it’s always off key, but it’s this weird moaning. One night I thought she was crying. Another time I thought she was chanting. It’s just strange.
Well, Mewling Myrtle is the reason why the barracks smell like a toilet. Two nights ago, I’m lying in bed when I hear the sound of water being splashed about. Not like a cup of water, mind you, but more like when you overturn a bucket of water. I kept hearing this over and over, and after a few minutes that smell showed up again.
Why does it smell like that?
I got out of my bed and peeked out of my cubby. Mewling Myrtle is on her hands and knees scrubbing at the floor. I don’t even know why she is doing this. First, the floor is made of concrete. What are you scrubbing? Secondly, you don’t need that much water because it is impossible to keep out the dust. I sweep my corner every single day. There is always dust. I do use a Swiffer wet thingy but really, it doesn’t do anything but make the floor smell like bleach for 10 minutes.
So at least I figured out where the water sound was coming from. She had a bucket and she was dumping water on the floor, scrubbing for a little bit, dumping more water on the floor and scrubbing some more. I also realized that’s where the smell came from, but I could not figure out why.
So, like I said, I use a Swiffer to mop my corner. It has a little bottle of bleach juice. It doesn’t use water. I don’t think anybody else in the barracks actually mops the floor, but there are a few that use a Swiffer. Imagine my surprise when 20 minutes later I get up to go to the bathroom and I find Mewling Myrtle in the bathroom, with her bucket, filling it up with water from the urinal.
Water from the urinal.
The water used in these temporary bathrooms is non-potable. There are signs that say do not use it to drink. Do not use it to brush your teeth. The sign doesn’t say so, but I wouldn’t use it to wash with. Non potable water is very tricky because it depends on what has been done to the water. Was it sewage water first? How many microbes are in the water? I mean, it’s good for flushing the toilet, which is probably why they don’t want you drinking it or brushing your teeth. Should you be slathering it all over the floor of your living quarters?
Okay, maybe I’m hyperventilating but the water has a smell to it. It stanks like a dirty toilet. I don’t have any proof, but I wonder if the water in the temporary bathrooms is just recycled over and over again, from the toilets back into the toilets. I mean, I just found it to be bizarre. Imagine back home in your house and someone in your household is using toilet water to wash dishes. Who does that? As 47 asks, “What kind of life did a person have growing up that you thought that was okay?” It has never crossed my mind that water from a toilet would be acceptable, even in the US where the water for flushing is required to pass EPA standards for drinking.
But these chicks are leaving this weekend. Hopefully, we’ll be able to solve the mystery of the Barracks Shitter before they depart.