Thursday, January 5, 2012

The thing about public toilets ...

Have you ever had something written in your head and while it's up there bouncing around it seems so great and shiny and maybe even funny? And then when you sit down to put it to paper you can't remember what ever made you think it was any good in the first place but maybe you're just having a day because you've been so sick the past couple of days that the thought alone of putting pants on has been entirely overwhelming? Yeah me too.

But anyway. When B and I were driving down to Philadelphia for Christmas I had the audacity to force B to stop at a public restroom not once but twice during the five and a half hour cruise south. And here's the thing about these rest stop toilets: they're easily the most welcome and revolting sites you've ever laid your eyes on. Welcome, because usually by the time I can convince my husband to pull into one I have to pee so badly the whites of my eyes have turned yellow.

And revolting, because well duh. They're public rest stops somewhere in the middle of god forsaken Connecticut and you're surrounded by other rude, road-weary, and disheveled looking travelers who probably have poop all over their hands and now they're touching everything that you need to touch and excuse me, ma'am, but are you really washing your hair in the sink that I would like to wash my hands in and oh the hand dryer doesn't work and there's no paper towels and is that pee I'm stepping in or is it just water and YOU KNOW WHAT NEVERMIND.

I'd like to point out that I'm not particularly squeamish when it comes to public toilets. I live my public restroom life by the mantra of get in, get out, and touch as little as possible in the least amount of time. But one thing I am is neat. What I do not understand is when someone leaves a toilet seat covered in pee for the next person to discover. Look, I get it, you're a squatter. I'm a squatter too. No one wants to put their butts on those toilet seats. And not just because my freshman year bio teacher told us we could get chlamydia from them. I'm older and wiser than that now. They're just icky.

When I was in high school I spent a good chunk of time doing service work in the Dominican Republic and we were taught to sanitize our showers and bathrooms by peeing on them. This is not something I will soon forget. I don't assume, however, that the women who go before me are politely sanitizing these seats for other travelers. I assume they just nasty.

I was contemplating all of this from a stall somewhere on the New Jersey turnpike a few days before Christmas. This particular public bathroom will also stand out in my memory. First, it had the type of toilet paper holders that are shaped in such a way that the ever-so-delicate toilet paper rips off in your hand every time the roll makes a single rotation, resulting in the user being forced to rip off the toilet paper square by square, frustratingly reaching your hand as far into the holder as you can force it to try to get your fingers around more paper. Who invents that shit? Like, aren't there supposed to be some type of quality prototype testing before you ship a product out to public restrooms across America? Aren't public restrooms supposed to be designed to get as many travelers in and out as quickly as possible? Who has the patience for that shit? Get in, get out, touch as little as possible in the least amount of time. It was killing my mojo.

But the real problem came with the flushing. This bathroom had automatic flushing toilets, and when I stood up fully to pull up my pants the toilet flushed itself with such violent force that a spray of urine-water splashed all over the back of my bare legs. I yelped and leaped forward to try to get out of spray range but there was so little space between the toilet and the stall door that I rammed my entire body, including my forehead, into the length of the door and if there's one thing I never touch in those bathrooms, it's the bathroom door because EW. Like seriously, EW. GET IN, GET OUT, TOUCH AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE IN THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TIME.

Now I'm ricocheting off the walls of this toilet stall while desperately trying to rip off as many toilet paper squares as possible as quickly as possible so I can wipe the back of my legs and WHY WON'T THIS TOILET PAPER JUST BE NORMAL AND ACT LIKE NORMAL TOILET PAPER WHEN YOU NEED IT TO AND WHO INVENTED THIS AND IS THE TOILET STILL FLUSHING OMG OMG OMG OMGOMGOMGOMG GET IN GET OUT GET IN GETOUTGETOUGETOUGETOUUUT GET OUT?!

I cleaned myself up and egh, blegh, meghed all the way back to the car while violently shaking my hands in front of myself. Then I decided since I would be driving the remaining three hours home, that I should probably grab a coffee which makes perfect sense because you know what runs through my system in a time significantly less than three hours? Coffee. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.

6 comments:

Lora said...

eww.

I've been peeing in those weird water bottles that are made of what-has-to-be toxic plastic with this icky bendy straw and the cap on top of that? You know? Those Totally Nineties ones?

Also, I've been peeing in them during roadtrips. Not like, all the time.

If you're driving it isn't advisable, but it is totally doable if you have a bit of dexterity and the willingness to be in a car with no seatbelt and your pants around your ankles. Just hold it high and tight to your crotchola and you're good to go. You can put an old t-shirt under you if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Sunny said...

Call me neurotic but I just walk in with a big ole can of Lysol and some paper towels I always keep in my car. Alcohol swabs in the purse for emergencies.

Bridget said...

@Lora. RESPEK.

@Sunny I still feel like I need to Lysol my legs

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Sunny said...

@Bridget That's why I get the big can.

Sunny said...

@Bridget. That's why I get the big can.

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