For some reason I’ve conditioned myself to go to the last stall when using a public restroom. In the women’s bathroom at work, I follow this habit without thinking. I close the door, turn around, and sit. My eyes wander a bit, and it never fails — I catch sight of this snot-colored, sticky-looking glob of mucouslike mess about half the size of an M&M. And if that’s not enough, attached to it is a curly strand of dark hair that loops around a couple times and hangs off each end about 2 inches.

It’s been stuck to the backside of the stall door for at least two years.

A few times I’ve considered sucking up my squeamishness and scrubbing it off — I mean, it would be better than looking at it for another two years, right? But it’s quite strange. By the time I walk five feet to the sink, which would be an ideal moment to dampen a paper towel and turn around to remove the offensive substance, I’ve completely forgotten about it. And it stays forgotten until the next time I enter that stall, close the door, turn around, and sit.

Only today did the temporary memory loss fail to happen. Because this time, I thought… entry.

How could it have gotten there? Do the glob and the hair have the same DNA? If I worked in a crime lab, I’d stay late one evening to test them. Maybe someone came to work one day with a really severe phlegm-laden cold, and had a deep, gutwrenching sneeze. Maybe her hand didn’t make it to her mouth in time. Maybe she conscientiously cleaned most of it off the back of the door, but missed one small spot, which — while she leaned over to wipe a particularly large bit of unpleasantness from the floor — pulled a strand of loose hair from the top of her head.

Or…..maybe someone actually planted it there. It might be a sociological experiment to test how much nastiness women will put up with in the workplace. There could be a camera hidden in a ceiling vent to record people’s reactions.

Or…..maybe ….

Hmmmm, never mind. Those appear to be the only two scenarios I can imagine.