The human being who cleans your bathroom, shower, and common areas has decided to be in the very bathroom you use right when you need to urinate and be on with your day. You contemplate turning around and pretending you forgot where your dorm room is, but it’s too late to avoid their determinedly friendly eye contact. The bathroom, which offended you last night for how dirty it was, now has the gall to be cleaned right when you need it.
The person who is responsible for an entire dorm’s share of vomit, feces, tampon wrappers, and shower drains, and all for slightly more than minimum wage, makes things awkward by waving at you. Then they tell you that they will be out right after they finish sweeping. Sweeping the tiny pieces of toilet paper confetti that were carefully scattered out by you and your peers over the course of the weekend. That kind of masterpiece doesn’t just happen.
After what could be forever, the individual who may have another similarly labor-intensive, low-paid job in order to support themselves and others has exited the restroom. “How are you?” you ask, moderating your inflection to show that you care about them as a person. Next time, you’ll ask how their weekend was, or how their family is, knowing that these questions will prove to them that you take no part in a larger system of institutionalized class- and race-based oppression.