The Miracle of Winn-Dixie: A Series, Pt. 4

Content warning: Some of y’all may find this one gross — get over yourselves.

Remember last time how I talked about using the meat department’s water hose to clean the bathrooms? That’s because before I could leave each shift, I had to clean the bathroom and break room. Pretty standard procedure for one at the bottom of the food chain and I’m not upset that I had to do it. Even at the age of 16 I understood why it was my job. I had a water hose that could connect to the sink, some spray soap for the floors, a brush for scrubbing and a squeegee for pushing the floor-water toward the drain. It took me about 30 minutes to do both bathrooms, which I thought was pretty good.

One of my bosses didn’t think so, apparently. I finished the bathrooms one day and before I could leave, I was asked to do a few other end-of-day tasks. When I went back toward the back room, I saw the water hose wasn’t where I left it. In a panic, I began searching and found a coworker talking to my manager, who was in the bathroom with the hose. Soap was covering the walls and he was using the brush to scrub the walls from top to bottom.

Coworker: “What you doing?”

Manager: “Cleaning the bathrooms since that bitch [pointing to me] won’t do it!”

That bitch, eh?

In my short time at Winn-Dixie, this bitch had to pick up numerous shitty diapers out of the floor because some people just couldn’t bother making it all the way to the trash can. This bitch was frequently left pondering how piss and shit ended up on the toilet seats, on the floors and on the walls of stalls every other night. Oh yeah — and then there was the tampon.

It was in the middle of the floor — not in a stall or a trash can … in the middle of the common-area floor. Soaked and sprawled out much like a dead animal. My squeegee had a crack in it so I was able to wedge the rubber blade against the floor to open the crack — I used the opening to pinch the end of the tampon tight enough to carry it over to the trash can where it was shaken loose and never seen again.

A real bitch would’ve quit. This bitch didn’t. Maybe I should have.

With this knowledge in mind, I didn’t really take it personally that he subjectively didn’t like my bathroom job that day. I knew I’d paid my dues.

I’ll confess now that I worked there for 2-3 weeks, each shift ending with “Justin, go clean the bathroom and break room then you can leave,” before I finally actually learned where the break room was. It was on an elevated portion of the stock room — up 15 steps or so, looking over all the back stock. The floor was concrete and there was a picnic table. The first day I went up to the break room there was a Papa John’s pizza box propped open slightly — someone’s lunch that day I assumed. I didn’t touch it because I knew I’d get upset if anyone touched my pizza. Everything else seemed pretty clean in there so I didn’t do anything else.

For the remainder of my time there, I never once cleaned the break room. I rarely ever went up those stairs and when I did it was mostly just me glancing, nodding my head that everything was in order and retreating down the stairs.

That pizza box was still there when I left, though. I worked there for six months at least, y’all.

Winn-Dixie has been closed for years now and something else has moved into the building. In my mind, the bathrooms are still sparkling … and there’s a mummified pizza hanging out on a picnic table atop a concrete overlook.

Ever onward — see you tomorrow.

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