I have many neuroses. One of the most prevalent issues I have is my abhorrence of public restrooms. I will do as much as possible to avoid going near the nasty place. People will do vile things to avoid the germs of others, and then the rest of us have to deal with the aftermath. I want to walk you through a visit to a public restroom with me; watch where you step.
We start by standing in a line a mile long. This is because architects around the world have yet to figure out that women’s restrooms need more space for stalls. We don’t have the luxury of whipping out a pee stick and tucking it back in. We also don’t have the added pressure of someone thinking we are checking out their package. So we wait and wait…and then wait some more.
Finally I get to the front of the line. It’s good, because at this point my eyeballs are floating. I take a step toward the stall when a pregnant woman taps me on the shoulder. She points to her daughter and says, “May we both go in front of you please? This baby is sitting on my bladder and it is about to burst. Plus, my daughter just finished potty training and if she has an accident, I will have to start the whole process again.” I gesture for them to go ahead while internally hating them both.
I hear another flush and another stall door opens. I step over a puddle of pee as I walk toward the stall. I open the door and step in. I try to close the stall door but the only way to do that is to straddle the toilet because stall designers didn’t take into account that there is a person in there when the door shuts. I engage the lock and hang up my purse when I realize my shoe lace is in a puddle of pee. This leads to dry heaving.
I pull down my jeans and see that someone has graced the seat with their urine in an effort to avoid getting germs from the seat. This means I have to play restroom hover craft. I realize that some woman’s period pad has touched part of the base and now my jeans are trying to touch the same spot.
Here I am hovering and squirming so that I don’t get any germs when I hear a loud grunt. (Now, any of you who know me know how much I hate that thought of someone else doing that thing that causes you to grunt. So for today we will call it sparkling.) This woman is sparkling next to me very loudly and I giggle. The laughing causes me to fall from my hovering position. Now I am covered in pee from the seat. I give up and just finish my business.
When my task is completed, I look over and there is no paper. I groan. Not only do I need to clean my own stuff, but I need to clean someone else’s bodily fluids off me. So I shout to grunting sparkle lady to please share some paper. “Sure thing. I am cleaning up now, give me a second.” I see a hand poke under the stall and a tuft of paper is handed to me.
I clean up, button and zip, and then turn to flush. I see in the toilet that there is sparkle on the paper…I did’t sparkle. This time I really throw up. Then I wipe my mouth and kick the handle to flush. I open the door to see people staring at me. They think I was the person sparkling. I pinch my nose and point to the other stall in an effort to make it clear it wasn’t me. No one seems convinced.
I walk over to the sink and perform a sterilization scrub suitable for an operating room. Sparkle woman and pregnant woman come out of their stalls at the same time. Pregnant woman and her daughter leave without washing their hands. My disgust increases when I realize that sparkle woman is not using soap. She is doing the courtesy rinse so that the people in line don’t judge her. In the mirror, I catch her waving her hand in front of her face and pointing to me as if I was the one that sparkled.
I sigh and reach for a paper towel. I see the paper towel despenser has a handle that needs to be pumped. So I pump some out and leave it hanging. Then I wash my hands again in an effort to rinse off the germs from that handle. I tear off the paper towel and dry my hands. Then I carry it with me to open the door germ free.
Finally, I rush home and shower. After I am finished, I call my therapist and get meds for PTSD.