Among my many life’s adventures I’ve found myself in the landscaping business. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur, right? Or something like that. All I’ll say is it started on vacation while drinking too many pina coladas and sounded like a good idea at the time.
So here I am, running a marketing company, writing about shit and speaking to whoever will listen to my gospel and I’m…power washing. Yes, you heard me right. Holding 3200 pounds per square inch of water and shooting it at the ground. And guess what? The ground shoots back. With mud. Who knew? Anyway, I am digressing.
Last week I showed up to do a power washing job in my shiny and absolutely adorable rubber boots and logo’d company shirt (of course, because marketing). But damn it. I have to pee. Since I’m not a guy and can’t use nature as my lavatory, I politely ask the woman who was home to use her restroom, offering to remove my shoes. I had not started to clean yet and I was tidy. She looked horrified but allowed me in. But only after confirming that it was me alone and not my 6’4″ male partner. He would not be permitted in the house.
Wow. Another round of deflation in my sheltered bubble. Remember the part about being a speaker? There are days when I get to stand on stage and people actually listen to what I have to say. As an author, I’ve actually signed autographs. This is humbling, but I mention it to make a point. On that day, in a different setting, in different attire, as professional as it was, this lady was hesitant to let me pee.
Fast forward a few hours and I was covered from head to toe in dirt. In my hair. In my ears. Clearly, I haven’t mastered proper power washing attire, but I get an A for effort. While filthy and soaking wet I had to pee AGAIN. Trust me when I say I thought about squatting in the bushes behind the house. Then I pictured the headlines of my arrest for indecency and reconsidered. So I got in my car (promising it a trip to the car wash after) and made my way to the gas station. TO THE GAS STATION. This might seem like no biggie to some of you, but my Nana taught me to be a full-on germaphobe and tinkling at Exxon was never in my playbook. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. So I peed. Then I went back to work.
This experience brought up so many perception issues for me. Have I ever prevented a worker from using my toilet? I don’t think so, but seriously, I hope not. This must happen often.
Is using a gas station restroom so bad? I mean, Britney Spears does it all the time, right? And she doesn’t even think shoes are required. Why do I judge all gas station restrooms that provide a valuable “service” to people every damn day? Who the hell am I?
More importantly, why do we treat manual laborers differently than “professionals.” That’s a stupid term. Just because someone doesn’t work in an office doesn’t mean they aren’t a professional. Where did this come from?
I don’t want to come across as being in a bubble or being a monster to people and suddenly seeing the light. I always strive to treat people with kindness and respect. But until you walk in someone else’s shoes, or in my case really cute Sloggers, you can’t fully comprehend. I’ve seen mistreatment happen and I’ve never tolerated it. But every day I learn something new. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what you know. Right place, wrong place, uniform, costume, microphone or pitchfork in hand, environment can change perceptions in an instant.
My experiences continue to shape me and help me grow. I hope my story helps you as well. I’d love to hear one of your experiences – good or bad.
Remember, Everyone has shit. And everyone has to shit – so if someone needs your toilet, let them us it.