It's a very beautiful building, with lots of elevators and glass that mirrors the plush rooms back at us. A rooftop studio. Brass everywhere. Art bought from actual artists and art dealers; not the "Deck the Walls" at the mall.
It's the Freedom Forum/Newseum in D.C.
In these situations, navigating the halls of heavy cloth napkins and spicy vinaigrette, my shoulders stiffen and my ass tightens. Because of my work, I've been to dozens of these kinds of dinners, where tuxedoed catering staffers (the pissed off Latino in me always notices that the waitstaff is always either Black or Hispanic) refill your iced tea, messing with the delicate sugar/tea equilibrium you worked so hard to achieve. In these situations, I can't help reverting to childhood, intimidated by the height of the Grown Ups Table.
It was that kind of dinner. Afterward, I went to the bathroom, finding it behind a discreet door that blended into the wall around it. Inside, gorgeous textured sinks, dim, ambient lighting, very private, cabana-like stalls. It was an elegant shrine to human waste.
Here's the best part -- above and behind each toilet, a sign I've never seen anywhere else before. Permanent and engraved, the sign said:
Folks, this needs to be our national motto. There needs to be an entire series of children's books, promoted on a Harry Potter level, to teach kids early on this vital lesson.
Please check your flush.
This isn't a lifestyle choice. This is about basic human decency. Check your damn flush, okay?
It's the "Be Kind, Rewind!" for our new century.
Now, we're not talking about people who don't flush at all. These people are lost causes. Leaving a big colon bouquet behind and not even attempting to flush it is clearly sociopathic, indecent, subhuman behavior. The scary part is that these non-flushers walk among us, blending into our society, likely dropping emotional turds on the people they come in contact with, refusing to clean up the psychic bowel movements they leave in their wake.
Forget about them. They are rampaging beasts and they cannot be helped.
I'm talking about the rest of us. We flush. We dispose of what we've created. But sometimes, the center does not hold. Things fall apart. The system fails. Sometimes They Come Back.
Sometimes, a lone floater prevails. We leave a small, Martha Stewart-sized gift for the next bathroom visitor.
It's a good rule. Please check your flush. This bathroom impressed me so much. The plaque is there like a commandment. That such a fancy restroom would even address the embarrassing issue is worthy of respect and admiration.
Please check your flush. Learn it. Adopt it. Live it. Pass it on.
But that's not the only lesson to learn here.
"Dude. I kid you not."