Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Wear a mask! Yes! Wear a mask! I AGREE! Of course I agree! Why wouldn’t I agree! I’ve agreed so much that I’ve stumbled into quite the problem: how do you mask up in a communal dorm bathroom? See, I live in a dorm. It’s not the biggest of dorms, but it’s still a dorm. On my third week of being back on campus after a 9 month hiatus, I’ve had to learn the art of covid safe communal bathroom use.
Using the Toilet
Listen, wearing a mask isn’t the worst thing in the world for a communal bathroom user. Throw on that N95 and you’ve got yourself a certified almost-public restroom scent filter. I know that campus dining can hit different and I know how embarrassing it can be to do a number two in a not-that-private place, so knowing that everyone around you isn’t breathing that post number two blessing in disguise.
The next dilemma was showering. I knew this wasn’t something I could/would want to do at 4am so I needed to figure out a game plan. Would a mask become like shower shoes where I simply ignore cleaning the part of the body it’s on? I mean sure my skin would start looking like a pepperoni pizza under there, but no one sees it! So I showered with a mask on….it did not go well. The mask kept on sliding off my face due to the weight of all the absorbed water, so there goes my protection. Then it hit me. When people have a cast that can’t get wet, they put a bag over it to create a waterproof seal. I should do this! I grabbed a plastic bag, taped it over the mask and headed to the bathroom. I guess I must have blacked out or something from lack of oxygen because I woke up a few hours later on the bathroom floor with the shower running. Turns out, you can’t breathe when you put a plastic bag over your mouth and nose. Who knew! I must have hit my idea part of the brain when I fell because I knew my next idea was going to work. I went and dumpster dived for the perfect piece of cardboard to put over the top of the shower! That way no germs could get in, I could wash my face, and of course, breathe!
Brushing Your Teeth
If I’m alone, I could definitely just pull it down, brush as fast (but still very thoroughly!!!!!) as possible while looking over my shoulder every other stroke to make sure no one is venturing in. But what if someone does venture in or even worse, is there the whole time you’re trying to protect that glistening white smile that no one gets to see these days? I had a couple different ideas. The first one went as follows. Keeping my mask on, I squeezed a big glob of toothpaste into my mask. I then put my head under the faucet and opened up my mask slightly to let the water run in, lifted my head up, and shook my head back and forth with my mouth open to cover all my teeth in toothpaste. I then pushed my hands against my mask to try and simulate a brushing experience. This was an utter failure. I got toothpaste all over my mask and couldn’t wash the toothpaste off my face as it would require taking my mask off. I had to rethink my process. The next time, I put a dollop of toothpaste on my brush and cautiously would slide the toothbrush into the mask, brush a tooth, pull out the burhs, then move onto the next tooth in a clockwise fashion. This failed as well. Each time I would attempt to slide the brush in, I would catch the bristles on the edge of my mask knocking the paste off. In the end I realized my safest option was just waking up at 4am every day (a sure time to be alone in the bathroom) and brushing my teeth twice to get it in for the day and make my dentist proud.
Well, I don’t know about you but I think I’ve absolutely nailed this bathroom masking routine. Sure I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in 3 weeks! Sure I sustained a severe concussion from my fall in the shower and can no longer attend Zoom classes, but one thing is certain: I will not be getting covid in this bathroom because I play it safe and playing it safe is cool as cool can be!