Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Buffer Zone

We humans are interesting creatures. On one hand, we enjoy conveying affection, especially in a physical sense, to those we care about. On the other, nearly all of us have, and observe, the unspoken rule of "observing the buffer zone."

It's interesting how often the zone is observed...everyday really. Going to the movies? Don't even think about sitting next to someone you don't know unless the theater is full! Hell, even when you DO sit next to your friend, people might make assumptions (if the movie is "Bad Education").Even then, some schmuck might have a chair reserved for his coat's comfortable viewing pleasure during the movie, in which case when you ask there's about a 50/50 chance that he's either saving the seat for someone, or just attempting to preserve the buffer zone.

I've noticed it at the gym too. People have a tendency to try and keep one treadmill in between him and the next person. In-between treadmills are only filled in after all "buffer-safe" treadmills are in use.

But what happens when someone is on an adjacent machine, and, during the workout, a buffer-safe machine opens up? Well, the normal person simply completes his workout and doesn't worry about it. I don't care at all if someone is on the machine next to me. In fact, most people don't, but it's a generally observed, unspoken rule that you grant the buffer zone, if available, just as a courtesy.

The other day, there were three of us on the stationary bikes, all next to each other. I was on the end. After I finished, the guy next to me (in the middle), asked me if I was finished and actually moved over to my bike to create a buffer zone! Maybe the other guy was stinkin up the joint? I don't know, but I think interrupting your workout for buffer zoning is a little excessive.

Other times, it's quite appropriate. On one flight I had, I was sitting in the window seat, and later, a guy came and sat in his assigned middle seat, right next to me. Fine. I don't care. BUT, after we take off, it's blatantly obvious that the isle seat is empty. Now I'm not sitting first class, so we're not exactly swimming in space. It's the middle man's responsibility to give both of us a little extra room and scooch his ass over to the isle seat!

I wasn't about to ask him to move. As the window man, I'm powerless to do anything! So there we are, Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum scrunched up next to each other on the entire three hour flight, while the isle seat is being utterly useless!

The Men's bathroom however is the most interesting buffer zone observance. When entering the bathroom, a man must first take note of the urinal setup. For a one or two urinal set, it doesn't matter where you go, it's not a buffer-safe bathroom. In a three setup, always go for the end, thus allowing the middle urinal to serve as the buffer. The middle urinal is only used if both ends are occupied!

In a four-set, there's more flexibility, and the first guy can have his pick (although an end-urinal is optimal so that if another person comes in, the "super-buffer" of two urinals can be observed with the second person on the opposite end).

In a five-set, there's nothing more frustrating than someone who takes either the second or fourth urinal. Why is this bad? Sure it allows a buffer-zone for one additional person, but if two come in (for a total of three people) then two people are forced to use adjacent urinals! Not ideal. This situation could've easily been avoided had the initial urinator chosen the number one, five (optimal choices), or three urinal.

The exception is if there is an unflushed urinal. I honestly don't get why people do this. FLUSH the damn toilet when you're finished! If the water is tainted, I'm going to avoid it, to hell with the buffer zone. If I'm forced to use it, I will, but then the internal battle wages!

Do I flush first? I've heard that tiny microscopic particles are whipped into the air during flushing. The last thing I want is to be inhaling little particles of foreign piss while I'm going.

If I then forgo the flush, there's the slight risk of a splash driblet escaping the urinal confines and attacking me! I have yet to settle on a consistent strategy in this situation.

Slightly less annoying is getting stuck at one of those lower, little-kid urinals. Again, not ideal. The splash risk rises dramatically. The falls are now travelling twice as far, picking up velocity, and crashing ferociously into the marble basin resulting in a high probability of renegade driblets.

Obviously this means an unflushed, toddler urinal is basically unusable.

So overall, when available, it's a good idea to observe the buffer zone. It's an unspoken rule among guys in the restroom, and in general, for most people in society. When there's no buffer, no big deal...just remember to flush!


Anonymous said...

Nice piss imagery. I love destroying buffer zones when I tinkle! I usually piss in between the second and third urinal in a four set. And I don't flush because walls can't be flushed :)

Anonymous said...

This reminded me of a funny Urinal Etiquette video I saw on YouTube awhile back. Check the Urinal Selection part of it at 2 minutes in:

Mark said...

Or test your urinal etiquette:

Arun said...

Ha! Both links are hilarious!