Okay, it’s confession time…
I hate…no…loathe…nay…despise going to the bathroom anywhere but at home (and even that is iffy).
I know what you’re going to say, “It’s no big deal. Everybody does it. It is just a normal part of…” STUFF A SOCK IN IT, WEIRDO!! Going to the bathroom anywhere but in the confines of a soundproof armageddon bunker is not okay.
I will do everything I can to avoid using the facilities for as long as possible and if I cannot fight nature off any longer I will make sure all of the circumstances are right. Navy Seal Team Six did not prepare to take down Bin Laden with as much precision as I use when planning a trip to a public restroom.
I will do a quick scan of the people around me – do all of the men that have been here still seem to be where I remember them? Do any of them look like they have to pee? If I feel confident that none of them are missing or look like they’ve had too much liquid (or, God forbid, anything that would upset their stomachs), I quickly make my way to the bathroom making sure to be casual so no one takes notice.
If I miscalculated and someone is in there – there is still hope. If they are standing at the urinal, I go to the farthest stall. If that is not an option, I wash my hands and act like that is the only reason I needed to be in there. And, if ANYONE makes eye contact with me or, DEAR LORD, gives me a nod or anything, I turn on my heel and march right on out of there! We NEVER acknowledge each other! We shouldn’t be doing this!!!
The absolute worst are places where the bathroom consists of one toilet. This is a bathroom meant for a house, not a place of business. Unfortunately, in some cruel twist of fate, I have found myself working in one of these places.
Now, I know what you must be thinking. “If you don’t like finding other people in the bathroom, wouldn’t a private one be much more…” I’M NOT GOING TO WARN YOU AGAIN! QUIT SPEWING YOUR WRETCHED PROPAGANDA ON MY BLOG!
I am not normally a paranoid person. I don’t stock up on rations before a snow storm. I don’t make sure I have a clear shot to the emergency exits in public places. I don’t stop hugging stray animals just because people tell me they’re rabid. But I become the world’s worst pessimist in these bathrooms. The toilet is ALWAYS more than an arm’s length from the door and I never feel confident that the door is locked. I mean, really, it’s a little button. It doesn’t seem like a powerful latching device at all. At any moment someone (quite possibly a colleague) will burst in and see all of your goodies! And you know for a fact they’ll burst in because no one just tests the handle to see if the door is locked. Oh no! They’ve got to jiggle the handle like a jackhammer while shoulder blocking the door! Someone’s in here! It’s not painted shut! True, they helped the process along by scaring the bejesus out of you – but I’m sure everything was working out just fine without their assistance.
Plus, once they’re done testing the integrity of the hinges like a linebacker, there’s a good chance they wait outside the door for their turn! These rooms echo! Every splash, or plop, or accidental poot sounds like an air horn in a parking garage! Thank God, you have an audience on the other side of that never-soundproof door.
Of course, there’s my worst bathroom fear – yes, even more than someone overpowering the all-powerful button lock – entering a one-toilet bathroom and getting hit in the face with the noxious odor that could only have come from the bowels of Satan himself. This is a no win situation. First, you need to deal with the fumes while you take care of your business. However, more troublesome than that is if you leave and pass someone on their way in – what do you do? If you say nothing, they will think YOU were responsible for making the plumbing weep. If you say, “Phew! The guy before me wrecked that place!” you’d be saying exactly what you’d say if it was you and you were trying to act like it wasn’t. Oh, and if you try to be proactive by spraying air freshener, then they’ll definitely think you did it because why would you try and cover for someone else? Especially since we all know air fresheners don’t work – it just smells like someone took a dump in a patch of lilacs.
Even if you do everything right: You barricade the door, you finish your business in record time, you time your air freshener sprays with the flush so no passersby hear the familiar hiss, and all of your clothes and their fastenings are adequately put back where they should be – you must still battle the faucet. The water pressure is always too high and they have those faucets that you need to hold down with your hand so you can have water to wash your hands (whose invention was this? An Eli Whitney you were not, sir!). So you’re doing that weird push quick and scoop water before it turns off and you need to push it down again. But because of all the spraying and pushing and scooping and washing, you have splashed water everywhere and you get to begin your journey out of the godforsaken bathroom looking like you peed your pants.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I had a lot of water to drink…
“When I worry about something, I don’t just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only I don’t go. I’m too worried to go. I don’t want to interrupt my worrying to go.” ~ J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 6