There comes a time in every person’s life when we have to make the ultimate sacrifice: using a public restroom. Be it a growing need in your local Barnes and Noble, or a shocking emergency that has you marching to the nearest bathroom in Walmart, navigating the communal lavatory is no simple task–at least not in my escapades in the women’s restroom.
The itinerary for these excursions into the public restroom are usually painless. You know what you have to do, you go in, do your business, and come out. It’s a simple procedure… only everyone else seems to be having difficulties. You walk into the stall with designs on a quick wee, but the scene that awaits you is shocking. Urine covers the seat, the walls, the floor. There may be a lingering remnant floating in the toilet bowl waiting to welcome you to Chez Stall. The floor is coated with a thick layer of shredded toilet paper that looks as if a dog got in the stall and couldn’t figure out how to use the toilet paper dispenser. As you stand there, now a material witness of this crime scene, you cross your legs, too aghast to even know where to begin to make this disgusting stall remotely clean enough to drop trou.
Naturally, the messy stall scenario only happens during happy hour in the public restroom, complete with every stall occupied (even the handicapped stall!) and with an eager line of fellow pee posse members just waiting for their opportunity. What follows is a disgusting quick-cleaning that tempts your gag reflex more than once, or a squat so well-intentioned and desperate you’ll feel it in your quadriceps for the rest of the week.
You’ll finish, and you’ll even start to hear the distant, loud hand-dryer at the end of the tunnel–you’ll reach for the toilet paper to conclude this transaction, and come up empty. Why yes, all those gnarled scraps at your feet are all that remains of the tissue in this stall. If you have your period, you’re now on the verge of tears as you realize the only option is to cross your fingers and do the shimmy of shame over the toilet. I’m afraid it only gets worse if you have some weightier bathroom business to handle…
A public number two is a circumstance of untold magnitude. First of all, if the mere thought of doing this deed in public is on your radar, it’s safe to say the resolution of this issue is imminent. In short, you’re dealing with an emergency which left untreated, will result in you shitting your pants. You make your way into the public restroom which, by some miracle, is empty! You sit down, on your mark, get set…when someone else enters the bathroom and settles into the neighboring stall. You’re poised, clenching your jaw, and waiting. Well, you can’t do it now! How long could this person possibly be? You’ve waited this long.
So you decide to wait them out.
But nothing happens. You’ve unknowingly entered into a Cold War-esque standoff, with each party waiting to see who’s going to drop the first bomb. Either way, the end result is mutually assured destruction. There’s a brief timeframe where you can trick the other
bitch woman into thinking you had other matters to attend to. A tampon to change, a reluctant pee, a tank top to straighten–but there’s only a narrow window of opportunity before it becomes clear of what both of your intentions were. In this circumstance, you have the choice of either admitting defeat and retreating or engaging in full-blown warfare complete with flushes to cover the sounds of explosions. When you have to poop in public, there are always casualties–be it civilians or the last remaining shred of your dignity. ♦
It’s a game of Russian Roulette, these public restrooms. Sometimes you’ll get that pristine stall, neat and orderly, that doesn’t look like someone just did a line of cocaine in it. But other times… You’ll get the stall that reminds you in permanent marker “fuck you” as you pee, with all kinds of fluids and debris scattered in the stall like shrapnel. What takes place behind that door that doesn’t lock properly is always a disappointment. The only real moral of this story is this…
What are some of your public bathroom experiences? Fess up–we all have them.