A Day in the Life of a
Restroom Attendant in the UK
Hey! I used to be a toilet cleaner here in the wet
n windy Midlands of the UK... I hated my job but wrote a couple
of tales about my experiences...
It's a very unpleasant and thankless task being
a public toilet attendant. A job nobody wants, and yet somebody
has got to do it. I spent three months working for a small Midlands
town council doing precisely this job and what follows is an account
of a typical day in the life of a cleaner. The main characters have
been reduced to initials in order to protect the author from expensive
12:03 London Road toilets
Just started my afternoon shift, having taken the
place of S.A. She has changed since she was attacked. (She was slashed
across the arm by a junkie and had £250 stolen...) Her voice
is a barely audible mumble, her hair is lank and greasy and shes
very nervous. Unsurprising. It was a vicious and unprovoked attack
and is the sort of thing that one must be wary of in such a vile
job. She no longer cycles home, she took a minicab.
This is a depressing room. Cramped, hot and sloppily
decorated. Its rather like being in a jail cell.
S.G., the snidey one, has just been here. She just
HAD to tell me that Id not put the walkie talkie on to charge
yesterday at St. Marks. (N.B. St. Marks is another of the towns
toilet blocks and is a real haven for junkies and muggers.) The
rotten little troll made the journey on the pretence of bringing
two cans of air freshener and a bottle of windowlene over to London
Rd. She is a twisted old ratbag and I dont know whether to
pity or loathe her. Well see.
So, here goes nothing. Another day with The
shit shack redemption I shall go and check the cubicles and
see what delights they have in store for me.
All clean, all quiet. Well, not 100% clean. Someone
had pissed in Mens No.2 and not flushed, but these people
are always going to be filthy buggers.
Five minutes ago, LY came in looking for screwdrivers
and rawlplugs. He wandered around exuding hellishly fake bonhomie
and to be honest, I dont like or trust him one little bit.
His weird obsession about drawing scantily clad musclemen makes
me shudder, and I cant wait until the day that I see the last
of him. He was prattling on about a broken toilet roll holder at
the Gilstrap Centre, and it seems that word has spread that I turned
up to Tolney Lane (Another toilet block...) yesterday instead of
London Rd. Bollocks to the gossipy little turds, I wont be
doing this much longer, but they will all die in the saddle.
Ginger beer. Mmmm... Just the thing I needed. It's
one of lifes small pleasures, but it has powerfully cheery
qualities. I wish I could drink it at home and not here.
Unhappy hour begins! School-kids. Noisy, troublesome
and irritating. Hoping for a quiet day usually begets trouble and
strife. Why do kids hang around toilets? I never did and no-one
I knew did either. This is a strange and unpleasant town. What joy
is there to be had from a block of toilets situated in a car park?
I guess Ill never know. Its one of lifes more
useless mysteries, and maybe one thats better left unsolved.
An old man wearing a huge black cowboy hat and smoking
a big, stupid pipe has just walked in. Where on Earth do these oddbods
come from? Most amusing for me, but what kind of abuse does a hat
like that generate? It must attract its share of derision!
What a belter!
CARDIACS on the muzak machine. LY has just left
again, having regaled me with exciting tales of broken brackets,
blocked urinals and boot sales. I need to calm down a bit, its
all too much to take!
Things are quietening down a tad. A few stragglers
from school lunch, but nothing to get on these stretched nerves
There came a pair of owl-like eyes at my window.
A middle aged biddy! (I knew shed be trouble. Here is a transcript
of our conversation... Im in italics!)
Yknow your machine? The one you put
Er, sorry. Which machine is this?
To get a car park ticket, well it just took
my money! Sixty pence!
Well, its not my...
Oh, its not your...
What do you suggest I do?
I was tempted to say something unsavoury at this
point, but I am not a bad man. I told her to call the number on
the machine. She muttered about doctors appointments, and
I walked away unthanked.
A rancid smell has drifted in my room. Its
air freshener time. I feel woozy!
This has not improved matters. Now I need to sneeze.
This is not good at all. Outside for some air, I think!
A lanky loony with a Mastercare sweatshirt
came and asked me about the car park ticket machine. He put 50p
in, even though the thing is jammed solid with coins. I told him
to call the number. He muttered about doctors appointments
and I walked away unthanked.
A huge baseball cap with a big leaf on it. Across
the leaf, it said New Zealand." Under the hat, an old
man... Another oldie came in on a home-made wheelchair with hand
cranked pedals.' He nodded at me, I sprayed the air and nodded.
This is a job where you meet all the finest prime nutters in town.
Its the darndest thing.
Time for another patrol. I wonder whether Ill
find anything worth calling Norris McWhirter for?
A few skids and a traffic warden. Better check the
Unflushed pee, a regretful woman wishing that she
had flushed and a tampon applicator tube floating around. Good rehearsal,
Just had another pair of owl-like eyes pop up. This
time it was the boss, JB. She brought a baby changing mat, and a
cold feeling to the air. She ought to work in a mortuary, she would
go down a storm with the punters. Anyway, she took the time cards,
spare keys and the air out of the room. Shes gone. I think
its time for a cup o tea...
A woman with piled up hair has come in for the second
time today and as before, stood at the sinks washing something.'
I know not what but she was constantly adjusting her clothing and
acting oddly. I think it was harmless, but what was she up to? Better
go and check to see whether anything has occurred...
No. Everything is clean and dry. Whatever she was
up to, it has caused me no extra work. I am content.
The regretful woman has been back, and I can only
assume that something crawled up her arse and died. Shes stunk
the whole building out. Nasty! Ive sprayed but thats
nothing against her awesome power of stench. Well be getting
complaints from Norway over this one.
Bored. Feeling sleepy. Want to hit the sack, but
too far away. A long wait ahead, hope something entertaining happens
before I start to snore like an after dinner Elvis.
A midget has walked in. Business is looking good
Noisy little kids playing in the toilets. Scared
em off with my big face. How nice it would be to think that
these poor children stand a chance in this life. How sad then, is
the inevitable failure of the system that they are being dragged
through, to emerge on the other side as a criminal, unemployable
or worst of all, a toilet cleaner.
Quiet. A little woman with a huge bunch of flowers,
struggling to keep them under control. A dull looking man wandered
in, looked through my window and wandered out again. Im going
to have a spray and a patrol. Its so whiffy in here today...
No-one about and nothing to report. A very unpleasant
looking man bought some condoms from the machine earlier. Hes
either got very lucky or he has hope in his heart. Whichever one
it is, I wish his partner the very best of luck. I imagine that
this quiet patch will come to an end when I close off the toilets
for the final clean. Everyone will be bursting for a wee and cursing
me for my audacity in locking, buffing and mopping. As if Id
do it for fun...
Righto! Kettle going on ready for the last tango
in the toilets. Mopping duty, ten-SHUN!
Mens shut and locked. The sign is out instructing
punters to use the disabled toilet. Lets see how many people
find this confusing.
First confused punter! Unbelievable!
Right. This is where it gets nasty! Brush in hand
and disinfectant. Its time for a close up on those skids.
Shes still wrestling those flowers. Maybe
she thinks that they are her child. Big bunch o blooms.
Thats taken care of the Mens lavs. Lets
take a rest and worry about the Ladies. Its usually worse
than anything that the men can concoct. I am not looking forward
to this at all.
Another confused punter. I feel the need to leave
now! Im going to clean like fury. Watch me now!!
Done. Finito! Its been quite a day as you
can see, but now I am marking time until I can go home. Right up
until the last, they come in to pee. Its like they chew senna
pods all day and drink Fosters to really get a widdle on.
Well. I am tired and looking forward to getting out of here. Just
a little while longer.
And still they come...
Good night, shitehawks.
HÜMPHRÊ¥ J. ¥ÒGHÜ®T
Want more? Visit my web site... Or don't. I mean, who am I to tell
you what to do??? Eh?