Working a job that requires me to travel all day eliminates the luxury of being able to go to the bathroom anytime I feel like it. Often, it’s an ordeal to stop what I’m doing, find a worthwhile gas station and answer the unrelenting call of nature (always #1). Once I’ve eliminated all other hurdles, quality time in said restroom is almost always ruined by one or more of the following circumstances.
1. The Occupied Bathroom
If my preference for bathrooms was a Google search inquiry, it would look like this: bathroom, clean, community. At first glance, it looks as though I’d like to have a sit down with others in a clean bathroom to discuss sports or something else meaningfully superficial. However, what I mean is that I’d prefer the bathroom to not possess an exclusive one toilet. One toilet equals a 98% chance (I’m a part-time statistician) some laborious soul is instigating chaos I’d rather not walk into. On a really lucky day or at an obscure hour, single toilet bathrooms might be free. When they are, be sure to buy a lottery ticket before you leave the gas station. Every other time, there’s a chance the person on the other side of that door isn’t self-promoting clean oxygen.The last thing you want to do is wait for them to come out, walk in, and find yourself staring at a paramedic when you come to.
2. The Peeing Politician
Once I find a community bathroom (Thank you, Quiktrip), there’s no telling what kind of human life I might encounter. The worst type is the guy who’s talking to a buddy who’s also in the restroom. This guy has no clue what a five minute break in conversation is and insists on continuing to tell a story only he cares about anyway. Not only is the conversation unnecessary, it’s not worthwhile. The last thing I want to do in the bathroom is get reeled into a conversation about nothing. The only type of friendliness I care about in a public restroom is a prompt washing of the hands.
3. The Pooper of Oz
No public toilet in America is spared from mid-afternoon visits from middle aged men with horrible diets. Enter the Pooper of Oz. He is notorious for talking on the phone while leaving a little something in the handicapped stall (always the handicapped stall). Like in the movie The Wizard of Oz, the only noticeable characteristic of the human behind the “curtain” is a voice that projects a lack of self-awareness. The cousin of the peeing politician, the Pooper of Oz does business while he does business, and it’s bad business. Although it seems efficient, it’s not. It caused the recession, the dot com bubble, and is the sole reason we’re in a debt crisis. Do you think the $2 billion trade fallout Chase had last week was a coincidence? The only coincidence I notice is that it happened after lunch. Somebody is running this economy from a cell phone, in a public stall.
4. The Magician
The Magician almost has it right. He walks into the bathroom, doesn’t say a word, and washes his hands without ever turning on the sink, dispensing a paper towel, or washing his hands. He just disappears. You know what doesn’t disappear? Germs. The magician is identified to the common public as the guy who immediately goes for a hot dog. He’s the one who’s always borrowing somebody else’s pen. For his next trick, he’ll spend all winter with the flu.
5. The Enola Gay
If you search Wikipedia, you may confuse the Enola Gay with the B-29 bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. In the real world, it’s the guy who follows you in to the bathroom and sets up shop in the stall next to you. Each movement is a test in quickness, speed, and agility. When the belt clanks to the ground, you know things just got serious. You have under thirty seconds to finish what you’re doing, wash your hands, and barrel roll out of the bathroom (like in the movies, with explosions in the background) . Otherwise, you’re precious ears will be the next victim of mass destruction. The Enola Gay prompts panic, anxiety, and initiates the instincts of self-preservation. Out of all things that can go wrong, sticking around is the worst possible outcome anyone can experience. All survivors are guaranteed to suffer from post traumatic stress for an extended period of time.
If you’ve seen a “no public bathroom” sign in a business, it’s because they’re hip to the game. They know that having a bathroom is like turning on a porch light in the middle of summer. If you use a public bathroom anytime soon, I’ll let you decide the june bugs from the moths.