You just vomited in your community bathroom; do you (A) walk out with the disgusting puke all over the toilet, (B) flush the toilet but leave the mess all over the floor, or (C) clean the whole mess? If at home, the choice would undoubtedly be C, but at college, having a community bathroom, why is it a number of students choose A?
Residence halls are home away from home. The reason a majority of people choose to walk out with their puke in and on the toilet is because of the mindset “the maintenance crew will clean it up” instead.
That is complete puke. If it is maintenance’s job to clean up everyone’s vomit, then it must be a mother’s job to clean up her 17 to 24-year-old’s vomit at home. It’s not only maintenance that has to deal with the puke – everyone living in the hallway has to survive the appearance and odor of vomit until maintenance cleans it.
And it is not only vomit students leave all over community bathrooms, but also urine all over toilet seats, empty shampoo bottles in the middle of showers and unwanted ramen noodles or facial hair all over sinks.
It is even more ridiculous when there is spit and snot in stairways. It is just absurd to see a maintenance worker mopping spit off the floor and snot off the walls. There is no excuse to ever have a maintenance worker clean this mess, let alone for a student to do these repulsive acts.
One maintenance worker, Josie, walks by me each day, smiles and says hello. It is good to see she can do that right after hosing down the bathrooms of Peabody Hall. Some maintenance workers really enjoy sitting down with students and talking for a while when they have the time. They like to be treated as humans, just like anyone else.
“Everyday this one girl would walk by me really quick, as if she was scared of me,” said a Temple maintenance worker of 16 years. “One day I told her that it’s not necessary for her to talk to me, but don’t act afraid of me. After that day, she talked to me all the time.” He added, “Respect – all we want is respect.”
Respect is not something most of these workers are getting. Instead, they are getting constant messes from lazy, inconsiderate students. It is not necessary for students to go scrubbing bathroom floors, not in community bathrooms at least, but it is not hard for any student to limit his or her own mess.
As this is “Respect Week,” it is a great time to go and make friends with a maintenance worker or two. It may be a surprise how much your worker of choice has in common with you.
If you do not feel comfortable making a new friend, it could not hurt to at least say hello and smile at these workers when you see them. They are simply hard working people doing their best to keep the homes of many students clean.
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at The.Jeff@temple.edu.