Seven things: Basura and Bathrooms

This is part one of a seven part Seven Things post. (I’ll explain later.) This first one was inspired by Andrei’s affinity for languages.

#1. I once peed in the women’s bathroom.

At work, a blue trash can reads “SAVE. Recycleable cans and bottles. Custodians do not throw out.”

Then, it “helpfully” adds: “NOT BASURA.” Basura being the Spanish word for trash.

I walk by amused.

This is the third time that sign has been written. With each iteration, the font has gotten increasingly redder, bolder, and more uppercase. Obviously someone in the office is quite frustrated that she can’t separate recycling in order to prevent our local trash collector from Chinatown from dumpster diving.

The reason the sign is amusing, of course, is that you don’t say, “Not basura.” That’s Spanglish. You say, “No es basura.” So what is going on is every night our Honduran cleaner is seeing the helpful word, “TRASH” in big bold print and… well… doing what it orders.

It’s only logical

Which brings me back to my first thing you may not know about me. When I was a kid, I used to pee sometimes in the women’s bathroom.

I’ve been potty trained since I was a year and a half. but I didn’t learn to read until I was six. These facts could be Thing #2 and Thing #3 if I was cheating.

This gap made me highly dependent on the international symbols for gender when going to the bathroom. But eventually I did learn how to read. And one day, in a bowling alley on my brother’s birthday, nature called.

The signs read: “Women” and “Gentlemen” respectively.

The problem is, while I had just learned to read, I could only read the letters “M-E-N.” I opted to doing my duty in the former because it had less letters in front of it, figuring it was closer to “men” than the latter.

When nature called again, one of my brother’s friends caught me going into the women’s bathroom.

Needless to say, I learned the lesson well and stopped peeing in women’s bathrooms…mostly.

I also bowled an 11 that day.

Living in an alien world

A coworker speaks perfect Spanish and often chats with the aforementioned Honduran cleaning man. He found at that the cleaning man has a second job as a dishwasher. My friend asked him which restaurant he works.

“I think the restaurant is called Ah-Tee-Em.”

One of my mom’s favorite Korean jokes

A Korean man comes to the United States. He decides to go exploring but is afraid that he might get lost so he dutifully writes down the street name he lives on from the street sign.

After walking around, he soon gets lost in such a big city. He finds a cop and asks if he can get directions back to where he lives and hands the paper with the street name written on it.

“One way.”

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