Case Closed: The Perenially Wet Bathrooms of MHS

Tamar McCollom, Opinion Editor

It was birthday fairy day, my favorite day. The tall glass of water commonly known as Rachael Oczkus stood before me holding donuts. I knew there was an explanation for how I could like someone who so closely resembles a model.

But, alas. My hands were dirty in both meanings of the phrase. I would have to retire to the *duh-dun* ladies’ room.  Yes, the very place where ladies wash their hands, privately gossip to their friends about boys that are usually named Dylan, and silently ignore the elephant in the room.  What is this unspeakable elephant, you may ask? It’s the ever-growing and ever-mysterious group of puddles that cover the floor of each bathroom at Miramonte.

The second I laid eyes on our quite literally slippery friends I knew I had to investigate the situation. Where do the puddles come from: the toilets, the sinks, the heavens? Do we have a gang of puddle criminals on our hands or is the janitorial staff negligent? And, more importantly, is that actually water? Donuts, be damned. This was a higher calling. My Watergate… except actually wet.

I arrived at school at 7:15 a.m., ready for a day’s worth of stakeouts.  I busted open the door to Miramonte’s most notoriously wet bathroom, the girls’ bathroom in the 130s hall, only to find absolutely nothing. The floor was as dry as the Sahara Desert, not a puddle in sight. What was this blasphemy? Was the janitorial staff innocent of blame? Were we the ones sullying the hallowed grounds of our should-be-dry bathrooms?

Disappointed but never discouraged, I made a strategic retreat and actually went to *duh-dun* class. I figured I’d let the pernicious puddle criminals strike when my guard was perceived to be down. But alas, my guard is never down.

I made my illustrious return at the beginning of fourth period, and huzzah, puddles.  In only three periods, the 130s bathroom had developed three puddles in the sink area. Were these puddles due to leaky sinks or careless handwashers? I turned on all of the sinks. No leaks. Janitorial staff exonerated. All signs pointed to lazy, dripping handwashers among the student body.

Perhaps more troubling was the puddle tributary that ran through the second and third stalls. I flushed each toilet only to discover that the toilet in the third stall spurted water out of the lever when flushed.  At first, I was horrified, but the foul stench of truth lingered in the air. Perhaps the janitorial staff wasn’t entirely innocent.

I decided to take the problem to the people. I sent my associates to survey each user at each bathroom at Miramonte.

While on the job, cafeteria bathroom correspondent Maya Sherne slipped and hit her head. I don’t want to point fingers. But puddles.

Despite Sherne’s mishap, the over 50 students surveyed claimed virtually unanimously that the cafeteria bathroom was by far the best bathroom on campus. The infamous 130s bathroom received only four votes.

“It feels like I’m trudging through a swamp,” four-year Miramonte bathroom veteran Jenna Haufler said of the restroom.

Seventy percent of the students that agreed there was a puddle situation claimed that the largest contributor to the problem was poor hygiene of users.

Nick Nieto, religious handwasher and strong advocate of Purell, concurs. “It’s always wet, but that’s because Jonathan [Hong] never uses the toilet,” said Nieto. Hong fervently denies contributing to the puddle situation.

However, Nieto raised an interesting point. I, the fierce crusader of high school bathrooms and hard-hitting investigative reporter, had never braved a boys’ bathroom at Miramonte.  Was Hong actually urinating on the floor? Did the boys’ bathroom even have a puddle situation? The task before me was clear. I had to infiltrate the boys’ bathroom.

After school, I made my proverbial move. I creaked open the door and quietly slipped in. Thankfully, I didn’t also slip in the enormous puddle spilling into the entrance from three of the four sinks. Upon careful inspection, none of the sinks leaked. Janitorial staff exonerated. Hong (probably) exonerated due to a lack of evidence and a lack of interest in collecting said evidence.

It was time to talk to the janitorial staff, the monitors of our heinous crimes against sanitation. I spotted Francisco from across the hall. I flagged him down.  He pretended not to hear me, but there’s no stopping a woman on a mission. “Hey, excuse me, Mister. Are you aware of the puddle situation in the bathrooms?”

“Which bathrooms?” he asked.

I chuckled sheepishly. “Well, I only know about the girls’.” Lies. Blatant lies.

“Well, I don’t know. We clean the bathrooms in the afternoons. We mop and sweep the entire ground. We clean everything.  I use a spray, but that should only be wet for two hours. By the time school starts, it’s dry.”

As if he didn’t know about the puddles!

“Come on. You’ve seen how wet the bathrooms get by the end of the day,” I softened my tone, leading him to believe that this was merely a ho-hum conversation between friends. Little did he know that I rarely partake in either friendship or ho-hum conversations. “It’s okay to tell me. Do the sinks or toilets leak?”

“Maybe, they leak. I check the toilets twice a week. But mostly, kids are just wet.” This Francisco was unflappable. Or innocent.

I walked off in a huff, only to find Alberto listening to “We Found Love” and cleaning the vending machine bathroom, which Rihanna would agree is a hopeless place.

Alberto gave me the same story. Sweeping, mopping, spraying. Boys will be boys. Kids will be wet. But he did offer one piece of interesting information. “Las Lomas has by far the messiest bathrooms in the district,” Alberto claimed.

I held my head high and walked off into the sunset. We might be excessively gross at Miramonte, but at least we aren’t as gross as the Las Lomas Knights. Vindicated (and dry) at last.