Monday, December 28, 2009

Bathroom Chemical Warfare

Other titles considered: Gassed in the Restroom, or, The Closest I'll Ever Get to Toilet Humor.

Relax! Even though I've had plenty of male roommates, this post isn't about what you think it's about. This post is about one of those things that would only ever happen to me.

The day after Christmas, my friend Justin and I decided to go have brunch at...well, for legal reasons let's call it "Smarfish Lafe." On Smarracks Grow. In Schmapitol Mill.

The food was lovely. The service was competent. After the meal, I excused myself to go use the restroom. I noticed a slightly off odor, however, as the Queen of Sinus, my sense of smell isn't that great. I also realized that by the time I walked out, my eyes were burning. A lot. I also kind of felt like I might pass out. There were annoying little itchy tingly sensations up and down my arms. And the nausea. And the headache. Oh, heavens, it was a hell of a headache.

I went home to lie down for a bit. I called the restaurant, and was informed that the janitor may have overused the bleach. By just a bit. Not by much. The person I spoke to was apologetic, but a little less freaked than I'd be if a guest called me to say they'd be poisoned by my bathroom.

After an hour passed with no improvement, I called D.C.'s poison control center. (Incidentally, Mayor Fenty? The magnet you gave me with the Important District Phone Numbers? So totally had the wrong number for the poison control center. That strikes me as a detail we'll want to get right next time. OK?)

The charming poison lady and I discussed bleach inhalation poisoning, with the probability that some ammonia had been mixed in. (Incidentally, bleach + ammonia = chlorine gas, which is apparently a chemical weapon.) Since my exposure had been less than five minutes, I was told to open the windows and that I would improve within hours.

And I did improve. I was all better by evening. But I will say my days of brunching at Smarfish Lafe are good and over.

In the comments, tell me if this is the weirdest restaurant health complaint you've ever heard.

6 comments:

amy said...

This reminds me of the time when I was high school kid working the one-hour photo machine at a CVS. The chemicals used were ammonia-based, as was the waste that came out of the machine. This waste was a lovely shade of reddish brown and there was a (formerly) white plastic sink in the back that was only used to dispose of the photo machine waste.
A new manager was transferred to our store. Eager to prove herself, and disregarding the sign that said "NO BLEACH IN THIS SINK", she decided that the stains had to go and bleached the sink. As in, put in the stopper and filled the sink with bleach.
I'm pretty sure we had to close the store that day.

Tina said...

yes - without doubt the weirdest restaurant illness I've heard of. On the plus side their restrooms were probably very clean!!

lacochran said...

'"Smarfish Lafe." On Smarracks Grow. In Schmapitol Mill.'

Is that in Shmashington, Wee Cee?

Glad you recovered. At least they try to keep the place clean.

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Alex said...

Yes, bleach + ammonia = the lethal World War I chemical weapon, chlorine gas. The same toxic byproduct as if you try to clean up cat pee with bleach (but on the plus side, it's incredibly effective)

BH said...

I damn near killed a house full of people pouring bleach in a litter box once. Bad, Bad scene.